Scientific notation is a way of writing scientific and technical publications that makes it easier to read and understand. It is used to organise scientific works so that they are easier to cite and understand. As a rule, you won’t find scientists using symbols other than Latin and Greek as their primary writing system. However, there are a number of exceptions. For example, technical journals often use scientific notation in their publications. In other words, scientific journals use a system of notation that makes it easier for the general reader to understand and follow the content of a publication.

**Why is scientific notation important?**

The scientific way of translating large numbers is to use scientific notation. This makes it easier for you to work with large numbers. It is often easy to lose track of counting extremely large numbers successfully. For example, someone will likely be much better able to work with 10^10 than 10,000,000,000.

In big numbers, this mathematical form of writing makes it easy to represent large or small numbers in a way that’s easily understood and more manageable to work with.

**How does scientific notation work?**

The following are several ways in which scientific notation work based on how it’s being used:

**General scientific notation:**

When writing a scientific number in scientific notation, you would consider the following:

Each exponent, or the number of zeros in a number, represents a “1” in scientific notation. For example, 1,000 has three zeros, so there are three exponents in this number and it would be written as 10^3 in scientific notation. Similarly, 10^0 is equal to one, as it is the equivalent to 100 times 0 which equals one.

When writing in scientific notation for negative numbers, you’ll use the same method except with a negative exponent. So, .001 would be 10^-2 in scientific notation.

**Scientific notation for addition and subtraction:**

When using scientific notation to perform subtraction or addition, it’s important to make sure all of the exponents in the equation are the same. For example, 10^3 + 9^3 is an appropriate way to use scientific notation for addition. In this equation, you would simply add together the two base numbers, 9 and 10, to get 19^3.

If you have two numbers that don’t have the same exponents, you’ll need to make them the same before performing addition or subtraction. For example, (3 + 10^3) + (2 + 10^2) would need to be changed to (0.2 + 10^3) + (3 + 10^3). This will answer 3.2 x 10^3, or 3,200.

**Scientific notation for multiplication:**

When using scientific notation in multiplication, the exponents do not need to be the same as they do for addition and subtraction. Rather, you’ll simply add the exponents to get the correct answer.

For example, 10^3 x 10^2 = 10^5 which equals 100,000.

Another example is as follows: (4 x 10^2) x (3 = 10^3) = 12 x 10^5, or 12 x 100,000, which gives you 1,200,000.

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