EXPLORATION 26

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Very Big and Very Little Numbers

Even the longest long long cannot represent truly large numbers, such as Avogadro’s number (6.02up-down-arrow.jpg1023) or extremely small numbers, such as the mass of an electron (9.1up-down-arrow.jpg10–31 kg). Scientists and engineers use scientific notation, which consists of a mantissa (such as 6.02 or 9.1) and an exponent (such as 23 or –31), relative to a base (10).

Computers represent very large and very small numbers using a ...

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