# What Does ** Do in Python?

In Python, "`**`" represents the exponentiation operator, which returns the result of raising the first operand to the power of the second operand.

For example, the mathematical expression `2 ^ 5` (i.e. two raised to the power of five) can be expressed using the exponentiation operator in the following way:

```print(2 ** 5) # 32
```

In this case, `2` is the base and `5` is the exponent.

This is the same as using the `pow()` function:

```print(pow(2, 5)) # 32
```

Using either, the exponential operator (`**`) or the `pow()` function, is merely a shorter form of multiplying the base number as many times to itself as denoted by the exponent. For example, consider the following, which is equivalent to the examples above:

```print(2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2) # 32
```

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