1.5 Scientific Notation

  • Meaning of Scientific Notation • Changing Numbers to and from Scientific Notation • Scientific Notation on a Calculator • Engineering Notation

In technical and scientific work, we encounter numbers that are inconvenient to use in calculations. Examples are: radio and television signals travel at 30,000,000,000 cm/s; the mass of Earth is 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons; a fiber in a fiber-optic cable has a diameter of 0.000005 m; some X-rays have a wavelength of 0.000000095 cm. Although calculators and computers can handle such numbers, a convenient and useful notation, called scientific notation, is used to represent these or any other numbers.

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