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Concept# Natural logarithm

Summary

The natural logarithm of a number is its logarithm to the base of the mathematical constant e, which is an irrational and transcendental number approximately equal to 2.718281828459. The natural logarithm of x is generally written as ln x, loge x, or sometimes, if the base e is implicit, simply log x. Parentheses are sometimes added for clarity, giving ln(x), loge(x), or log(x). This is done particularly when the argument to the logarithm is not a single symbol, so as to prevent ambiguity.
The natural logarithm of x is the power to which e would have to be raised to equal x. For example, ln 7.5 is 2.0149..., because e2.0149... = 7.5. The natural logarithm of e itself, ln e, is 1, because e1 = e, while the natural logarithm of 1 is 0, since e0 = 1.
The natural logarithm can be defined for any positive real number a as the area under the curve y = 1/x from 1 to a (with the area being negative when 0 < a < 1). The simplicity of this definition, which is matched in many other formulas involving the natural logarithm, leads to the term "natural". The definition of the natural logarithm can then be extended to give logarithm values for negative numbers and for all non-zero complex numbers, although this leads to a multi-valued function: see complex logarithm for more.
The natural logarithm function, if considered as a real-valued function of a positive real variable, is the inverse function of the exponential function, leading to the identities:
Like all logarithms, the natural logarithm maps multiplication of positive numbers into addition:
Logarithms can be defined for any positive base other than 1, not only e. However, logarithms in other bases differ only by a constant multiplier from the natural logarithm, and can be defined in terms of the latter, .
Logarithms are useful for solving equations in which the unknown appears as the exponent of some other quantity. For example, logarithms are used to solve for the half-life, decay constant, or unknown time in exponential decay problems.

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Natural logarithm

The natural logarithm of a number is its logarithm to the base of the mathematical constant e, which is an irrational and transcendental number approximately equal to 2.718281828459. The natural logarithm of x is generally written as ln x, loge x, or sometimes, if the base e is implicit, simply log x. Parentheses are sometimes added for clarity, giving ln(x), loge(x), or log(x). This is done particularly when the argument to the logarithm is not a single symbol, so as to prevent ambiguity.

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In mathematics, a function from a set X to a set Y assigns to each element of X exactly one element of Y. The set X is called the domain of the function and the set Y is called the codomain of the function. Functions were originally the idealization of how a varying quantity depends on another quantity. For example, the position of a planet is a function of time. Historically, the concept was elaborated with the infinitesimal calculus at the end of the 17th century, and, until the 19th century, the functions that were considered were differentiable (that is, they had a high degree of regularity).

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In mathematics, the logarithm is the inverse function to exponentiation. That means that the logarithm of a number x to the base b is the exponent to which b must be raised to produce x. For example, since 1000 = 103, the logarithm base 10 of 1000 is 3, or log10 (1000) = 3. The logarithm of x to base b is denoted as logb (x), or without parentheses, logb x, or even without the explicit base, log x, when no confusion is possible, or when the base does not matter such as in big O notation.

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