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Scientific Notation

Scientific Notation refers to a method of condensing either very large or very small numbers into decimal form. Scientific notation is commonly written in the following form:

A x 10B


A is any real number

B is an integer, where A is multiplied by 10 to the power of B

So for a really large number, such as 5,320,000, the normalized scientific notation would be:

5.32 x 106

For a really small number, such as 0.000000652, the normalized scientific notation would be:

6.52 x 10-7

Scientific notation in chemistry has a number of useful properties when doing calculations on numbers that are infinitesimally small such as concentrations, or extremely large such as number of atoms. Thus, understanding how to use scientific notation is definitely a benefit when analyzing specific values of chemical phenomena.


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