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Exponential Notation Tutorial

The concept behind exponential notation is to ex press numbers using powers of 10

a
× 10b  (1)

where a is a real number and the exponent, b is an integer. The number a is written in such a way that
it is greater than 1 but less than 10. To find the value of b

1. For numbers > 1, count right to left the number of digitst up to but not including the leftmost
one. Example:

123, 400, 000 = 1.234 × 108  (2)

2. For numbers < 1, count from the decimal point to just past the first non- zero digit ; b is a negative
number. Example:

0.0001234 = 1.234 × 10-4 (3)

Multiplication and Division are performed by multiplying the real numbers together then either
adding or subtracting the exponents. If the resulting real number is larger than 10 or smaller than 1,
the final exp onent must be adjusted. Given

then

To raise a number in scientific notation to some exponential power n (e.g. squaring a number ),
again raise the real number a to the power, then multiply the exponent by the power. For Example:

Some Examples:

1. Multiply 2.5×104 by 12.2×102. This equals 30.5×106, but the first real number should not be
bigger than 1, so this would be written as 3.05×107

2. Square the distance between the Earth and sun (1.495×108 km). This is equivalent to (1.495)2
× 108+8 = 2.235025 × 1016.

3. Divide the mass of an electron (9.1093826×10-31) by 100. This results in: 9.1093826×10-33.

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