Exponents        Single Var. Eq.        Multi-Var. Eq.        Word Problems        Factoring        Fractions        Ratios        Number Lines        Coordinate Plane       Square Roots    Scientific Not. In courses such as chemistry (see our credits page for more on chemistry) or when computing Bill Gates' net worth, it is sometimes necessary to use huge numbers such as 26,890,000,000,000,000,000 (which happens to be the number of molecules of a gas in a cubic meter).  Using these large (or sometimes, extremely small) numbers can easily lead to mistakes and use tons of paper!  :-)  Scientific notation takes care of this. Numbers in scientific notation look like the following examples: 4.16 x 10+b and 4.16 x 10-b.  b is always a positive, real number.  The 10+b tells us that the decimal point is b places to the right of where it is shown.  The 10-b tells us that the decimal point is b places to the left of where it is shown. ``` 1. Write .000316 in scientific notation. Solution: Start off by moving the decimal point behind the first digit that is not a 0 and by adding the x 10 3.16 x 10 Now all you need is a value for b. You get that by figuring how many places away and in which direction the decimal point was from where you've got it now.  It used to be 4 places to the left, so the proper value for b is -4. The answer is 3.16 x 10-4. 2. Write in scientific notation: .000316 x 10-7. Solution: Write the first term, .00316 in scientific notation. 3.16 x 10-4 x 10-7 Combine the last two terms (the x 10bs) using the Product Theorem for Exponents. Once that is done, you have the answer! 3.16 x 10-11 ``` Take the Quiz on scientific notation.  (Very useful to review or to see if you've really got this topic down.)  Do it!

Math for Morons Like Us - Algebra: Scientific Notation
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