I didn’t know until just now, reading this Wikipedia entry, that calculators calculate square roots using exponential functions and logarithms. The article says that most calculators employ efficient routines for handling these functions and so they use the identity sqrt(S) = exp(1/2 ln(S)) to take the square root of S. It also mentions that this is how square roots can be calculated using log tables, which makes sense. I bet that’s how the old-fashioned mechanical calculators did square roots too.

Exponential functions and natural logs… is there anything they can’t do?

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