5.2b
Scientific Notation
Scientific Notation
Floating Point Format
•
a
X 10
n
where 1
≤
a
< 10
•
Calculators or computers sometimes abbreviate
“X 10^” as E
NEVER write an E on a test or homework
answer!
Use “* 10^”
(
Show
you
know
!)
•
Computers internally use
a
X 2
n
where 0.1
b
≤
a
<
1
•
Computers have “Double Precision”, and
sometimes “Extended Precision” (Excel uses
double precision)
Terms
•
a
X 10
n
where 1
≤
a
< 10
•
a
is called the
mantissa
•
n
is called the
exponent
•
Once upon a time, we used slide rules or
log tables to manipulate the mantissas,
and just kept track of the exponents
manually.
Now we use scientific
calculators and computers to do the work.
Converting
•
Each movement of the decimal place by
one digit changes the exponent by 1.
•
You can add as many leading or trailing
zeros as you need, in order to move the
decimal place far enough.
•
Negative exponents mean that the number
is between 1 and 0.
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 Spring '06
 jonh
 Scientific Notation, Basic Math, Decimal, decimal point

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