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Logarithmic

Functions

The logarithmic function to the base a, where a > 0 and a 1


is defined:

y = logax if and only if x = a y


logarithmic
form

exponential
form
When you convert an exponential to log form, notice that the
exponent in the exponential becomes what the log is equal to.
Convert to log form:

16 4

Convert to exponential form:

1
log 2 3
8

log 416 2

1
2
8
3

LOGS = EXPONENTS
With this in mind, we can answer questions about the log:

log 2 16 4

This is asking for an exponent. What


exponent do you put on the base of 2 to
get 16? (2 to the what is 16?)

1
log 3 2
9

What exponent do you put on the base of


3 to get 1/9? (hint: think negative)

log 4 1 0
1
1
2
log
3
log 33 3
2

What exponent do you put on the base of


4 to get 1?
When working with logs, re-write any
radicals as rational exponents.
What exponent do you put on the base of
3 to get 3 to the 1/2? (hint: think rational)

In the last section we learned about the graphs of


exponentials.
Logs and exponentials are inverse functions of each other
so lets see what we can tell about the graphs of logs based
on what we learned about the graphs of exponentials.
Recall that for functions and their inverses, xs and ys
trade places. So anything that was true about xs or
the domain of a function, will be true about ys or the
range of the inverse function and vice versa.
Lets look at the characteristics of the graphs of
exponentials then and see what this tells us
about the graphs of their inverse functions
which are logarithms.

Characteristics about the


Graph of an Exponential
Function f x a x a > 1

Characteristics about the


Graph of a Log Function
f x log a x where a > 1

1. Domain is all real numbers 1. Range is all real numbers


2. Range is positive real
numbers
3. There are no x intercepts
because there is no x value
that you can put in the
function to make it = 0
4. The y intercept is always
(0,1) because a 0 = 1
5. The graph is always
increasing
6. The x-axis (where y = 0) is
a horizontal asymptote for
x-

2. Domain is positive real


numbers
3. There are no y intercepts

4. The x intercept is always


(1,0) (xs and ys trade places)
5. The graph is always
increasing
6. The y-axis (where x = 0) is
a vertical asymptote

Exponential Graph
Graphs of
inverse
functions are
reflected about
the line y = x

Logarithmic Graph

Transformation of functions apply


to log functions just like they apply
to all other functions so lets try a
couple.
up 2

f x log10 x

f x 2 log10 x
Reflect about x axis

f x log10 x

left 1

f x log10 x 1

The secret to solving log equations is to re-write the


log equation in exponential form and then solve.

log 2 2 x 1 3
2 2x 1
3

8 2x 1
7 2x
7
x
2

Convert this to exponential form


check:

log 2 2 1 3
2

log 2 8 3

This is true since 23 = 8