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Algebra allows us to manipulate and use equations, in some cases well-established equations established by other researchers, in some cases equations expressing our own understanding of how the system we are investigating behaves.
Understanding the meaning of these common symbols allows us to comprehend ideas expressed to us in mathematical notation and express our own ideas succinctly and accurately in the same way.
It is essential that scientists can rearrange equations in order to derive any one unknown quantity based on the other quantities they have actually measured in their experiment.
Substituting known or measured values into equations allows us to calculate the remaining, unknown, quantity.
A logarithmic scale is extremely useful for situations, such as microbial growth, where the scale of measurements being taken changes drastically over the course of an experiment.