In order to handle the changing size of the very large and small numbers, scientists use scientific notation to control the amount of writing of zeros they have to do. Take the number 0.0000004382 grams. If you had to repeatedly write the number, you may accidently drop a couple of zeros, changing the size of the number. Writing the value in scientific notation, as 4.382 *10-7 grams, makes the numbers easier to write.
When writing numbers in scientific notation, the decimal point must be moved such that it is just to the right of the first counting number (numbers 1-9). The number of times you have to move the decimal either left or right will become the power of ten.
Want to see a video on this? Check this one out!
[insert video scientific-notation.flv]
Heres some examples of switching numbers into scientific notation.
[insert Scientific_Notation in metric_system]
These prefixes are used through out the health and physical sciences. Often, we have to convert among various units.
Here's are two short videos giving an example of how prefixes are used to convert amongst each other.