# What is an example of a scientific notation?

Mar 25, 2015

Numbers in scientific notation look like
$1.234 \cdot {10}^{6}$ or $1.234 \cdot {10}^{-} 6$

As you may know
${10}^{6} = 1000000$ = one million and
${10}^{-} 6 = 0.000001$ = one millionth
so the two examples above would be:
$1234000$ and $0.000001234$

Scientific notation is used when really great or really small numbers are involved. In stead of writing out all these zeroes, when you can easily make a mistake in counting.
You wouldn't want to write out the number of molecules in a mole:
$N = 6.02 \cdot {10}^{23}$, or would you?

The rule is that (in almost all cases, except sometimes in tables ) the ${10}^{\text{power}}$ is chosen so that the number before the power turns out to be between $1$ and $9.99 \ldots$
So you wouldn't write the first example as $1234 \cdot {10}^{3}$