Normal form (scientific notation) is a way to write very large or very small numbers in a more compact form. It has two parts:
For example the distance to the sun is about 93,000,000 miles. In scientific notation.
93,000,000 would be written 93×106
106 is one million (One way to remember this is 106 is one with six zeros after it.)
So the notation simply means 93 times one million.
The diameter of a human hair is about 60 millionths of a meter. Or .00005 meters. We can write this as
In science and engineering the exponent is often made a multiple of 3. This is because the units are often quoted that way. For example we have electric power measures in watts. 1000 watts is called a kilowatt. One million volts is called a megavolt. So the coefficient is often adjusted to make the exponent 1000, or 1,000,000.
So using watts as an example:
|50||= 50 watts|
|50 × 103||= 50 kilowatts|
|50 × 106||= 50 megawatts|
|It is done on small values too|
|50 × 10-3||= 50 milliwatts|
Because it is hard to write in a computer program and display in calculators, this form is often written in "E" format. So for example