bullet2 Why use Scientific Notation?

Think about the kinds of measurements with which scientists work.  
  • What is the speed of light? 300,000,000m/s
  •  What is the diameter of an influenza virus?    0.0001mm

The numbers above are just a couple of examples of the size of measurements that scientists are calculating in their equations.  Many numbers are much larger or much smaller (many decimal places).

bullet3 Why Do Scientists Use Scientific Notation?

When the scientists need to use these large numbers in calculations, it is much easier to write and calculate them if they are written in scientific notation.  How do the measurements of the speed of light and the diameter of a virus look in scientific notation?  Check it out:

  • 300,000,000m/s = 3.0 x 108 m/s
  • 0.0001mm = 1 x 10-4 mm

It's time to look at how numbers are converted to scientific notation.