Date: 04/03/99 at 23:11:26 From: Sanquetta Hallbrooks Subject: Scientific Notation Dear Dr. Math, In school we are learning about scientific notation. While they were learning about and how to solve scientific notation, I was out sick for 3 weeks. How do I solve a problem like: 125678.098 I thought that you would solve the problem by bringing the decimal between the 1 and the 2. But I found out that there are other ways to solve the problem. My question is, are there really other ways? After you put the decimal between the one and the two, don't you write the other numbers after the one and the two times 10^5? Why does there always have to be 10 to the whatever power it will be? Thank you very much. Sincerely yours, Sanquetta
Date: 04/04/99 at 21:26:27 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Scientific Notation Hi, Sanquetta, I'm glad you're better and I hope you can quickly get back on your feet academically! You have it right. A number written in scientific notation is always a number between 1 and 10, times 10 to a power. If you put the decimal point anywhere other than between the 1 and the 2, you would have a number that is either less than 1 (like 0.125678) or greater than 10 (like 12.5678). There is no other choice. Every time you move the decimal point one place to the left, it is the same as dividing the number by 10. To keep the number the same, you must multiply it by 10 at the same time: 125678.098 12567.8098 * 10 1256.78098 * 10^2 125.678098 * 10^3 12.5678098 * 10^4 1.25678098 * 10^5 All these represent the same number, but only the last is in correct scientific notation. - Doctor Rick, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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