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Studying for a test? Prepare with these 9 lessons on Exponentials & logarithms.
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Video transcript
What I want to do in this video is prove the change of base formula for logarithms, which tells us-- let me write this-- formula. Which tells us that if I want to figure out the logarithm base a of x, that I can figure this out by taking logarithms with a different base. That this would be equal to the logarithm base b-- so some other base-- base b of x, divided by the logarithm base b of a. And this is a really useful result. If your calculator only has natural logarithm or log base 10, you can now use this to figure out the logarithm using any base. If you want to figure out the log base 2-- let me make it clear. If you want to figure out the logarithm base, let's say, base 3 of, let's say, 25, you can use your calculator either using log base 10 or log base 2. So you could say that this is going to be equal to log base 10 of 25-- and most calculators have a button for that-- divided by log base 10 of 3. So this is an application of the change of base formula. But let's actually prove it. So let's say that we want to-- let's set logarithm base a of x to be equal to some new variable. Let's call that variable, let's call that equal to y. So this right over here, we are just setting that equal to y. Well, this is just another way of saying that a to the y power is equal to x. So we can rewrite this as a to the y power is equal to x. I'll write the x out here, because I'm about to-- these two things are equal. This is just another way of restating what we just wrote up here. Now, let's introduce the logarithm base b. And to introduce it, I'm just to take log base b of both sides of this equation. So let's take logarithm base b of the left-hand side, and logarithm base b of the right-hand side. Well, we know from our logarithm properties that the logarithm of something to a power is the exact same thing as the power times the logarithm of that something. So logarithm base b of a to the y is the same thing as y times the logarithm base b of a. So this is just a traditional logarithm property. We prove it elsewhere. And we already know it's going to be equal to the right-hand side. It's going to be equal to log base b of x. And now, let's just solve for y. And this is exciting, because y was this thing right over here. But now if we solve for y, we're going to be solving for y in terms of logarithm base b. To solve for y, we just have to divide both sides of this equation by log base b of a. So we divide by log base b of a on the left-hand side, and we divide by log base b of a on the right-hand side. And so on the left-hand side, these two characters are going to cancel out. And we are left with-- and we deserve a drum roll now-- that y is equal to log base b of x divided by log base b of a. So let me write it. Just copy and paste this so I don't have to keep switching colors. So let me paste this. So there you have it. You have your change of base formula. Remember, y is the same thing as this thing right over here. y is log of a. Actually, let me make it clear. y, which is equal to log of a, which is equal to log base a of x-- so copy and paste-- y, which is equal to this thing, which is how we defined it right over here, y is equal to log base a of x, we've just shown, is also equal to this, if we write it in terms of base b. And we have our change of base formula.