What does scientific notation allows us to do?

1 Answer
Jan 21, 2017

Scientific notation allows you to "simplify" the value of very large or very small numbers.


Scientific notation rewrites large numbers like 2,305,000,000,000 to #2.305xx10^(12)# or very small numbers like 0.000000301 to #3.01xx10^(-7)#

Because the accuracy of measurements are to some degree an estimation (instruments have a limited accuracy), not all digits carry true "significance" or meaning. Of more concern, especially when dealing with very large or very small numbers (distances between stars or sizes of atoms), the leading digit and the place value of that leading digit are of most importance. Scientific notation makes these values very easy to "see."