 gremlin/iStock/GettyImages

# Jobs That Use Exponents

#### Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Exponents are used to signify a number or variable multiplied by itself several times. For example, 4^5 is four times itself five times, or 1,024. Exponents are a key feature of polynomial and exponential functions in algebra. Exponents are used in a wide variety of jobs that use these equations for statistical modeling and scientific analysis.

## Scientist

Scientists must use polynomial and exponential functions in their work to explain phenomena and perform statistical operations on their data. For example, scientists performing radiocarbon dating for animal fossils and other organic matter use the formula for the half life of the element carbon, which contains an exponent: A = 0.5^(t/h), where A is the final amount, t is the elapsed time and h is the element's half life (how long it takes for half of the element's atoms in a substance to decay).

## Ecologist

Ecologists studying ecosystems rely on exponential equations in their calculations. The growth of populations is calculated using the logistical growth model, which contains exponents corresponding to the growth rate and elapsed time (see ref 2). The logistical growth model is used in situations where growth would be exponential but for environmental or other factors that come into play once the population reaches a certain level. In Ecology, these limiting factors include food scarcity and predation.