Introduction to Scientific Notation

What you’ll learn to do: Define and use scientific notation to write very large and very small numbers and solve problems with them.

In the same way that exponents help us to be able to write repeated multiplication with little effort, they are also used to express large and small numbers without a lot of zeros and confusion. Scientists and engineers make use of exponents regularly to keep track of the place value of numbers that they are working with to make calculations. For example, [latex]1,000,000[/latex] is written as [latex]{1}\times{10}^{6}[/latex] and .00001 becomes [latex]{1}\times{10}^{-4}[/latex].

Specifically, in this section you’ll learn how to:

  • Define decimal and scientific notation
  • Convert from scientific notation to decimal notation
  • Convert from decimal notation to scientific notation
  • Multiply numbers expressed in scientific notation
  • Divide numbers expressed in scientific notation
  • Solve application problems involving scientific notation


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