A blog of tips and recommendations for anyone interested in learning or teaching mathematics.
There is this odd thing that if the base is negative there is a space before the exponent but if the base is positive there isn't a space before the exponent. It's seems like the space is a formatting convention meant to represent brackets. It seems incredible silly, it's just too easy to mistake (-x)^y with -(x^y) i.e. -x^y and -x^ y
That's an interesting observation about the formatting, though I think the operative word is still "silly."
In some systems, such as Excel, -1^.5 gets you an error. In others, such as Matlab, it gets you -1. Even stranger, if you put 1 into cell A1 in Excel, the formula -A1^.5 still gives an error.