Scientific Notation and Computations
1. The exponent shows how many zeros are present to the left of the decimal point.
- Examples:
- 200 = 200. = , 5/1000 = 0.005 = .
2. Notation:
- Examples:
- 1 millimeter = micrometers =
meters = kilometers
- The mass of the Sun is grams
= kilograms
3. To multiply in scientific notation, multiply the numbers in front, add
the exponents, and (if necessary) change exponent so the number in
front is between 1 and 10.
- Examples:
- What is the mass of a galaxy with Suns?
- Answer: grams = grams.
4. To divide in scientific notation, divide the numbers in front,
subtract the exponents, and (if necessary) change exponent so the
number in front is between 1 and 10.
- Examples:
- How many atoms are in your body if your mass is 60
kilograms and a typical atomic mass is kilograms?
- Answer: =
atoms.
- How long would it take for the Space Shuttle to reach the nearest star
if it travels at 6 kilometers/second and the star is meters away?
- Answer:
meters / ( meters/second) = seconds =
seconds. Note the change of units between kilometers and meters.
Last updated: Aug 15, 2003 Matthew Bershady