In scientific notation each number is written in the form:
b × 10 y
where b is a number between 1 and 10 and y is a positive or negative whole number.
The following examples may help to illustrate how scientific notation works, 10 can be written as 1 x 10 1, 0.1 as 1 x 10 -1 , 100 as 1 x 10 2 , and 0.01 as 1 x 10 -2 .
Note that 10 0 is 1 and that the number 1 and numbers between 1 and 10 (but not 10!) can also be written as number x 10 0 e.g. 3 can be written as 3 x 10 0 . While this is mathematically valid this is not necessary since these numbers are already in scientific notation.
Note this form of scientific notation where a number is written in the form of a single number before a decimal point to a power of 10 is often called normalised scientific notation. Final answers to calculations should be expressed in this format.
For example 0.350 can be written in a number of ways including 3.5×10 -1, or 35 ×10 -2, or 350×10 -3. However only 3.5×10 -1 is written in correct normalised scientific notation.
So 6000 CFU/mL can be written as 6 x 10 3 CFU/mL.
The calculator below can be used to convert numbers, to scientific notation this is sometimes referred to as converting regular notation into scientific notation.
Click here to use the calculator
How to cite this article
Mullan, W.M.A. (2007).
[On-line]. Available from: http://www.dairyscience.info/calculators-models/141-scientific-notation.html . Accessed: 24 May, 2013.