Do
you know this number, 300,000,000 m/sec.?
It's the Speed
of light !
Do you recognize
this number, 0.000 000 000 753 kg. ?
This is the
mass of a dust particle!
Scientists
have developed a shorter method to express very large numbers.
This method is called scientific notation. Scientific
Notation is based on powers of the base number 10.
The number
123,000,000,000 in scientific notation is written as :
The first number 1.23 is called the coefficient. It
must be greater than or equal to 1 and less than 10.
The second
number is called the base . It must always be 10 in scientific
notation. The base number 10 is always written in exponent form.
In the number 1.23 x 10^{11} the number 11 is referred
to as the exponent or power of ten.
To write
a number in scientific notation:
Put the decimal
after the first digit and drop the zeroes.
In the number
123,000,000,000 The coefficient will be 1.23
To find the
exponent count the number of places from the decimal to the end
of the number.
In 123,000,000,000
there are 11 places. Therefore we write 123,000,000,000 as:
Exponents
are often expressed using other notations. The number 123,000,000,000
can also be written as:
1.23E+11
or as 1.23 X 10^11
For small numbers we use a similar approach. Numbers less smaller
than 1 will have a negative exponent. A millionth of a second is:
0.000001
sec. or 1.0E6 or 1.0^6 or
Try
These sample questions!
Type the number
for each in the box provided then hit the submit button.
To practice
more problems use the scientific notation generator. Click
here!
