**Scientific notation** is a way of writing numbers that are too big or too small to be conveniently written in decimal form. Scientific notation has a number of useful properties and is commonly used in calculators and by scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

In scientific notation all numbers are written in the form of

(*a* times ten raised to the power of *b*), where the exponent *b* is an integer, and the coefficient *a* is any real number (however, see normalized notation below), called the *significand*or *mantissa*. The term “mantissa” may cause confusion, however, because it can also refer to the fractional part of the common logarithm. If the number is negative then a minus sign precedes *a* (as in ordinary decimal notation).

Standard decimal notation | Normalized scientific notation |
---|---|

2 | 2×10^{0} |

300 | 3×10^{2} |

4,321.768 | 4.321768×10^{3} |

−53,000 | −5.3×10^{4} |

6,720,000,000 | 6.72×10^{9} |

0.2 | 2×10^{−1} |

0.000 000 007 51 | 7.51×10^{−9} |

Decimal floating point is a computer arithmetic system closely related to scientific notation.

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