Section 4.0 - Why Bother?

Up to now, you may have only considered power expressions in which the exponents are constants, but in this module we study functions defined by equations involving variables in the exponents. Such functions are called exponential functions (or logarithmic functions if it is the dependent variable in the exponent).

The reason we study such functions is because they occur in many important applications. Population growth, compound interest, radioactivity, electric circuits, and heat flow are just a few. After considering some of these you should be able to recognize and explain the occurrence of exponential functions in other areas as well.

What to do

After reading about the linked examples above, try to express in your own words why the others might also give rise to the occurrence of exponential functions. Check that you have met the Learning Objectives for this section before proceeding to the next section.

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