### Exponential functions and logarithms: Logarithmic functions

### The logarithmic function

Earlier, we had a look at exponential functions. We'll now have a look at **logarithms**. The logarithm can be seen as the inverse, or opposite, of the exponential function. Let's take the function #\blue{a}^x#; it might be interesting to solve for #x# in the equation #\blue{a}^x=\green{b}#. When solving this equation, we'll use the logarithm.

Logarithm

The number #\log_{\blue{a}}\left(\green{b}\right)# is the exponent to which the number #\blue{a}# must be raised to get #\green{b}#. We call this the **logarithm**. Therefore

\[\begin{array}{lcr}\log_{\blue{a}}\left(\green{b}\right)=x&\text{ gives }&\blue{a}^x=\green{b}\end{array}\]

The number #\blue{a}# is called the **base** of the logarithm. The number #\blue{a}# has to be positive and not equal to #1#, the number #\green{b}# has to be positive.

**Examples**

\[\begin{array}{lcrl}\log_{\blue{2}}\left(\green{8}\right)&=&3&\text{because }\blue{2}^3=\green{8} \\ \log_{\blue{4}}\left(\green{\frac{1}{16}}\right)&=&-2&\text{because }\blue{4}^{-2}=\green{\frac{1}{16}} \\ \log_{\blue{5}}\left(\green{\sqrt{5}}\right)&=&\frac{1}{2}&\text{because }\blue{5}^{\frac{1}{2}}=\green{\sqrt{5}} \\ \end{array}\]

We can derive two important rules from the definition of logarithm.

\[\begin{array}{rcl}\blue{a}^{\log_{\blue{a}}\left(\green{b}\right)}&=&\green{b}\end{array}\]

**Example**

\[\begin{array}{lccr}\blue{3}^{\log_{\blue{3}}\left(\green{9}\right)}&=&\green{9}\end{array}\]

\[\begin{array}{rcl}\log_{\blue{a}}\left(\blue{a}^{\green{b}}\right)&=&\green{b}\end{array}\]

**Example**

\[\begin{array}{lccrr}\log_{\blue{a}}\left(1\right)&=&\log_{\blue{a}}\left(\blue{a}^\green{0}\right)&=&\green{0}\end{array}\]

# \begin{array}{rcl}

\log_{3}\left(81\right)&=&\log_{3}\left(3^4 \right)\\

&&\quad \blue{\text{identify }x\text{ such that }3^x=81}\\

&=& 4\\

&&\quad \blue{\log_{a}\left(a^b\right)=b}

\end{array} #

**Pass Your Math**independent of your university. See pricing and more.

Or visit omptest.org if jou are taking an OMPT exam.