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Hi, I am having difficulty understanding the answer to the attached image. I corrected the problem during class but did not have enough time to understand how the answer was gotten.

This problem uses fairly simple algebraic laws for exponents. As an example, for arbitrary numbers a, n and m

(a^n)(a^m) = a^(n+m) <--- add exponents when multiplying

(a^n) / (a^m) = a^(n-m) <--- subtract exponents when dividing

You can rearrange the expression to line up the a's and b's to make it look more like the above. Also, note that

3/9 = 3/(3^2) = 3^(1-2) = 3^(-1) = 1/3.

Randy

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