Scientific
Notation
It is not unusual to encounter very small or very large
numbers during a scientific investigation. But, these numbers
are inconvenient to write and can be confusing when attempting
to maintain accuracy. Therefore, scientists usually express
numbers using scientific notation.
Scientific notation makes very large
numbers or very small numbers easier to work with in
calculations and data. It also provides a way to show the
appropriate significant figures
when there are several zeroes involved.
Scientific notation is based on the powers of ten and is
written in the following form:
#.### x 10^{n} or
#.### x 10^{n}
Notice that in order to be in proper
scientific notation there should only be one leading digit
followed only by the significant
digits.
Scientific Notation Rules
 Move the decimal point to the right or
the left in order obtain only one leading
digit.
 If the decimal is moved to the right,
then subtract from the power of 10 the number of times you
moved the decimal.
 If the decimal is moved to the left,
then add to the power of 10 the number of times you moved
the decimal.
Example: 5,230 = 5.23 x
103 or .00523 = 5.23 x 10^{3}
Practice
800,000 m

→

8 x 10^{5} m

0.0015 kg

→ 
1.5 x 10^{3} kg

60,200 L

→ 
6.02 x 10^{4} L 
0.000006 km

→ 
6 x 10^{6} km 
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