How to Convert a Number Less Than 1 to Scientific Notation

Converting a Number Less Than 1 to Scientific Notation

A number can be written in scientific notation.

Imagine we wanted to write 0.00123 in scientific notation.

How to Convert a Number Less Than 1 to Scientific Notation

Converting a number less than 1 to scientific notation is easy.

Question

What is 0.00123 in scientific notation?

Step-by-Step:

1

Place a new decimal point to the right of the first non-0 digit of the number. In our example, the first non-0 digit of 0.00123 is 1:

0.001.23

2

Ignore the 0s before the first non-0 digit.

1.23

1.23 will appear in the answer.

3

Count how many digits there are between the old and the new decimal point. (Don't ignore the 0s before the first non-0 digit this time).

0.001.23

There are 3 digits between the old and the new decimal point.

4

Take the negative of the answer to Step 3. The negative of 3 is −3.

5

Make the answer to Step 4 (−3) the exponent of a power of 10.

10 to the minus 3

10−3 will appear in the answer.

6

The number in scientific notation will consist of the number between 1 and 10 found in Step 2 (1.23) multiplying the power of 10 found in Step 5 (10−3).

Answer:

We have converted the number less than 1 to scientific notation:

1.23 times 10 to the minus 3

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See Also

What is a power? What is a base? What is an exponent?