Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

power (mathematics)





A word that is almost never used in its correct, original sense any more. Strictly speaking, if we write 8 = 23, then 2 is the base, 3 is the exponent, and 8 is the power. But almost everyone, including most mathematicians, would say that 3 is the power, and that "power" and "exponent" mean the same thing. The misuse has probably come about from a misunderstanding of statements such "eight is the third power of two."


Related category

   • MATHEMATICAL TERMINOLOGY