## Saturday, April 27, 2013

### Zero Power

To neutralize the differing effects of any non-zero numbers -- to wipe out vast differences between numbers -- we may raise each of them to the power zero.*  When 0 is applied as the exponent for any nonzero number, the result is 1.  So 70 = 1 and 5378 0 = 1 and (.001)0 = 1.   And here are "zero power" and other mathematical concepts interpreted in a poem.

N to the Zero Power

He holds one photograph
featuring one man and one woman.

Three birds perch on two wires
forming an isosceles triangle over the last
red brick street in town.

If a man loves a woman a prime number of years
before she loves another, what are the unknowns?

The base. The apex. Where the road ends
in a cornfield—a cradle—a crying shame—
a blackboard waits for the right equation

and if that number squares
will that lead him to the root

of his trouble? Which is? He wakes
one morning, old

and discovers he married wrong. He begins with N
and works back, looking for a number
that divides, leaves no remainder, ends
in nothing but the dust of two clapped erasers.

I found Laurie Clemens' poem at  Wordgathering.com.

*Actually, use of the exponent 0 is not as contrived as I have presented it above.  Rather, it is a straightforward consequence of subtracting exponents to achieve division. For example, we can have 32/4 = 25/22 = 2(5-2) = 23, and we 64/64 = 26/26 = 2(6-6) = 20 = 1.