TWO NUMBERS ARE CALLED reciprocals of one another if their product is 1.
The student should not do arithmetic -- that is, "cancel" the a's. The
Problem 1. Write the symbol for the reciprocal of z.
To see the answer, pass your mouse over the colored area.
It is that number which, when multiplied with log 2, produces 1.
And it is not necessary to know what "log 2" means The statement
is purely formal. It depends only on how it looks.
To "prove" anything, we must satisfy its definition. In this case, the definition of reciprocals is that their product is 1.
The definition of division
We say in algebra that division is multiplication by the reciprocal.
"a divided by b is equal to a times the reciprocal of b."
We may rewrite any fraction as the numerator
That rule in the box is called The Definition of Division. Division is stated in terms of multiplication, just as subtraction can be stated in terms of addition: a − b = a + (−b). (Lesson 3.)
Problem 7. Rewrite each of the following according to The Definition of Division.
To divide by ¼ is to multiply by its reciprocal, 4.
In other words, when the numerator and denominator are equal, the fraction is immediately equal to 1. This has nothing to do with "canceling."
Problem 9. Evaluate each of the following. (Assume that no denominator is 0.)
Division and multiplication are inverse operations. That means that if we start with some number x, and then divide it by a number a, then if we wish to preserve x, we have to multiply by a:
Or, if we first multiply by a, then to preserve x we have to divide by a,
Problem 10. Complete each equality with some operation, so that the equality is preserved.
The student may think that is trigonometry, but it is not. It is algebra.
The rule called the Definition of Division --
But it does not tell us how to evaluate that division. For that, we must return to arithmetic, and to the relationship between division and multiplication.
If the quotient of a divided by b is some number n --
-- then n is that number such that n times b is equal to a.
nb = a.
4· 3 = 12.
We will be applying this below.
Rules for 0
a· 0 = 0· a = 0
"If any factor is 0, the product will be 0."
ab = 0,
what can you conclude about a or b?
Either a = 0 or b = 0.
Problem 13. Which values of x will make this product equal 0?
(x − 1)(x + 2)(x + 3) = 0
The product will equal 0 only when one of the three factors equals 0.
The first factor will equal 0 when x = 1. (Lesson 2.)
The middle factor when x = −2.
The last factor when x = −3.
For those three values of x -- and only those three -- will that product equal 0.
We will now investigate the following forms. In each one, a0.
n = 4. Because according to the meaning of the quotient n, 4· 2 = 8.
n = 0. Because 0· 8 = 0.
There is no number n such that n· 0 = 8. Division by 0
meaningless symbol. It has no value.
(The student should not confuse no value with the value 0. 0 is a perfectly good number.)
n could be any number, because for any number n, n· 0 = 0.
In summary (a0):
(For a "proof" that 1 + 1 = 1, click here.)
One sometimes hears that a number divided by 0 equals infinity; that is, an infinite number of 0's will equal that number. But that would imply that infinity times 0 equals every number, from which it follows that all numbers are equal.
is "undefined" for x = 0. Nevertheless, since
for all other values of x, then for x = 0 we can define that quotient as 5 -- or any number we please. And
Problem 16. Let x = 2, and evaluate the following.
Problem 17. Does 0 have a reciprocal?
No. There is no number, according to the definition of a reciprocal, that when multiplied with 0 will produce 1.
Problem 18. What is the only way that a fraction could be equal to 0?
The numerator must be equal to 0.
Problem 19. Solve for x.
See the previous problem.
Please make a donation to keep TheMathPage online.
Copyright © 2015 Lawrence Spector
Questions or comments?