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On meeting this adorable litter of ten Dalmation Puppies the other day, I quickly spotted (ahem) the need for **Dogarithms **– the canine equivalent of logarithms. The conversation with dog breeder Maxine went something like this:

**HOM (House Of Maths):** Oh they are adorable – please may I hold one??

**M (MAXINE):** Yes of course, here’s Copper.

**HOM: **He’s so big already!! It seems impossible that they could all have fitted inside Mum Inca just a few weeks ago.

**M:** Yes they have grown so much!

**HOM:** How often do they double in size? [This seemed like a natural question for one to ask, whether a mathematician or not!].

**M:** Well Copper is now 3kg, but his birthweight five weeks ago was just 265 grams.

A few moments later, Copper was transferred to my daughter’s arms (see totally smitten photo!) and I was brandishing my phone, calculator app at the ready!

Now then: 3kg=3000g; dividing this by 265g, we get that Copper has grown 11.32 times as big since birth. So how many times has he doubled in size? More than three, because $2^3=8<11.32$, but not as many as four times, because $2^4=16>11.32$. So how many times do we multiply two by itself to get 11.32 – or to put it another way, **11.32 equals two TO WHAT POWER?**

Luckily there is a mathematical function that answers this exact question: what power? **Logarithms** (or in this case… **Dogarithms**?) are a family of functions, and in this case I required **log base 2** for the answer to my question: **11.32 equals two to what power?** Unfortunately my phone calculator app doesn’t have a log base 2 button, but it does have a log button (meaning **log base ten**), and a well-know A-level formula tells me that:

**THE DOGARITHMIC ANSWER:** Copper has doubled in weight (so presumably in size too) 3.50 times over 35 days (=5 weeks), so he doubles in size every $\frac{3.50}{35}=10$ days.

It’s always fun when higher level maths crops up in everyday situations! Thanks to the power of Dogarithms, this problem’s bark was worse than its bite.

**WATCH OUT – COUNTER-INTUITIVE MATHS!** If Copper **doubles in length** rather than in weight, then he becomes not just 2 times but** eight times as big**! This is because doubling in length most likely means he will also double in width and in height, so he becomes roughly 2x2x2=8 times as big! A similar line of reasoning tells us that a 46 inch television is four times as big as a 23 inch TV, not just twice as big.

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