Why Do We Use Scientific Notation?

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Christopher Zack


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Why Do We Use Scientific Notation?

Have you ever wondered why scientists use scientific Notation? Scientific Notation is writing very large or very small numbers that are difficult to read and compute. This article will explain why scientists use scientific Notation and look at how it works.

What is Scientific Notation?

Scientific Notation is a technique to write very large or tiny numbers. It makes it easier for scientists to work with these vast and small numbers. There are two portions to scientific Notation: the number and the exponent. The number is written in this way: 10n

The letter “n” tells you what number goes in the exponent. The exponent is written as a superscript and should be positive. If the number is zero, the exponent would be -10.

Read More: Evolution of Computer

How can you write numbers in scientific Notation?

This method can express any number as a product of a decimal between 1 and 10 and a power of ten.

  • There are more than100 a billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Expressed using scientific Notation, this number would be 1 x 10^8.
  • The average number of cells in a human body is roughly 37.2 trillion or 3.72 x 10^13.
  • The distance that light traveled in one year is called a lightyear, and it equals 9.5 x 10^12 KM.
  • There are about 1,000 millimeters in one meter, so the speed of light would be 2.99792458 x 10^8 m/s.
  • There are approximately 300 stars in the universe. This number is 3 x 10^21.

Rules of Scientific Notation

Rules of Scientific Notation

There are many some rules to write the numbers in scientific Notation.

The general form of Scientific Notation is: a × 10 n

  • If the number has only one digit, we will place it before the decimal point and add a power of ten. Therefore, we will multiply the decimal by ten raised to that power.
  • If the number has more than one digit, we will find the decimal value of the first digit and put it after the decimal point. Then we will multiply this value by 10 raised to the power of (n-1), and  We will place all other digits before the decimal point.
  • In Scientific Notation, the number should be written to have one and only one digit before the decimal point. The exponent value n should not be greater than 9.

What is the scientific Notation used for?

We use scientific Notation to express extremely large or extremely small numbers.

For example, consider the number 0.000000000056 (5.6 * 10-9). A number like this has many advantages over writing 5.6/1,000,000 because it allows us to express extremely small numbers in a smaller space. For instance, 0.000000000056 could be used to represent the mass of one proton (the number is closer to 5.7*10-9), whereas writing 5.6/1,000,000 would require many more digits and take up much more space.

Scientific Notation can also express numbers that are too large to fit on a piece of paper. In scientific notation, the number 1.5 x 10^12 could be represented as 1.5×10^12.

Scientific Notation helps in chemistry and physics by helping scientists to work with very large and small numbers. In this way, scientific Notation provides an efficient method for scientists to communicate extremely large and small numbers.

Scientific Notation can be used to find the mass of subatomic particles. For example, one proton has a group of approximately 1.672 * 10-24 grams. A number like this is impossible to write out entirely on paper but can be written as 1.672*10-24.


How do you write 0.00001 in scientific Notation?

0.00001 has 4 zeros and one decimal so that it can be expressed as 1*10^-5

Can scientific Notation have negative exponents?

Yes, like 5*10^-3 = 0.05

If I make a number smaller and smaller, can it still be written in Scientific Notation?

Yes, as long as you can write the number in terms of a power of 10. Suppose you could write any number 0.

What are the 5 rules of scientific Notation?

The rules of scientific Notation are:

  1. Only have a 1 and a -1, 0, or some number between 1 and 9 after the decimal point;
  2. Have a 1 or -1 before the first non-zero number (this is the coefficient of the 10);
  3. To make a number smaller (move the decimal point to the right) and larger (move the decimal point to left), make the exponent larger;
  4. The decimal point moves the same number of places to the right or left as its exponent moves; and
  5. Scientific Notation is only used when the number is very small or large.

How do you put scientific Notation into standard form?

Scientific Notation in standard form is the same number with 1 exponent. For example, if you have 5.4 * 10^3, then 5.4 * 10^5 = 540000.

How to write scientific Notation with decimals

When expressing Scientific Notation with decimals, you will need to convert the decimal number into a power of ten—for example, 0.

Why Do We Use Scientific Notation? Information

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Updated on: November 3, 2023

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