College Algebra with Corequisite Support

# 1.2Exponents and Scientific Notation

College Algebra with Corequisite Support1.2 Exponents and Scientific Notation

### Learning Objectives

In this section, you will:

• Use the product rule of exponents.
• Use the quotient rule of exponents.
• Use the power rule of exponents.
• Use the zero exponent rule of exponents.
• Use the negative rule of exponents.
• Find the power of a product and a quotient.
• Simplify exponential expressions.
• Use scientific notation.

### Corequisite Skills

#### Learning Objective:

1. Most college instructors advocate studying at least 2 hours for each hour in class. With this recommendation in mind, complete the following table showing credit hours enrolled in, the study time required, and total time to be devoted to college work. Assume 2 hours of study time for each hour in class to complete this table, and after your first exam you can fine tune this estimate based on your performance.
Credit hours (hours in class) Study time outside of class Total time spent in class and studying
9 (2,2) (2,3)
12 (3,2) (3,3)
15 (3,2) (3,3)
18 (4,2) (4,3)
21 (5,2) (5,3)

Consider spending at least 2 hours of your study time each week at your campus (or virtual) math tutoring center or with a study group, the time will be well spent!

2. Another way to optimize your class and study time is to have a plan for efficiency, meaning make every minute count. Below is a list of good practices, check off those you feel you could utilize this term.
Best practices: Will consider: Not for me:
1. Attend each class session.
It will take much more time to teach yourself the content.
If you are unsure of a concept being taught in class, ask for clarification right away. Your instructor is an expert in their field and can provide the most efficient path to understanding.
3. Be prepared for each class.
Having completed prior assignments can go a long way in math understanding since mastery of most learning objectives depends on knowledge of prior concepts.
Also, reading through a section prior to class will help to make concepts much clearer.
4. Stay organized.
Keeping your math materials in a 3-ring binder organized by lecture notes, class handouts, PowerPoint slides, and homework problems will save you time in finding materials when you need them. Having two spiral notebooks dedicated to math works well too, use one for class notes and one for homework assignments.
5. Find a study partner.
Making a connection either in class or virtually with a fellow student can save time in that now there are two sources for gathering important information. If you have to miss class or an online session for an important appointment, your study partner can provide you class notes, share in-class handouts, or relay announcements for your instructor.
Study partner’s name:
Study partner’s number:
6. Begin exam review time by reworking each of the examples your instructor worked in class.
Your instructor will emphasize the same topics in both lecture and on exams based on student learning objectives required by your college or university or even the state where the course is offered. Follow their lead in assigning importance to an objective and master these topics first.
3. Creating your Semester Calendar- complete the following weekly schedule being sure to label
• time in classes
• study time for classes
• time at work.

Optional: also include if you want a more comprehensive view of your time commitments

• time spent exercising
• time with family and friends.

Term: ________________________________

Name: ________________________________________

Date: ________________________________________

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
6:30-7:00am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
7:00-7:30am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
7:30-8am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
8-8:30am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
8:30-9am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
9-9:30am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
9:30-10am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
10-10:30am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
10:30-11am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
11-11:30am ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
11:30-12pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
12-12:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
12:30-1pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
1-1:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
1:30-2pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
2-2:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
2:30-3pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
3-3:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
3:30-4pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
4-4:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
4:30-5pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
5-5:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
5:30-6pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
6-6:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
6:30-7pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
7-7:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
7:30-8pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
8-8:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
8:30-9pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
9-9:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
9:30-10pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
10-10:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
10:30-11pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
11-11:30pm ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________

Mathematicians, scientists, and economists commonly encounter very large and very small numbers. But it may not be obvious how common such figures are in everyday life. For instance, a pixel is the smallest unit of light that can be perceived and recorded by a digital camera. A particular camera might record an image that is 2,048 pixels by 1,536 pixels, which is a very high resolution picture. It can also perceive a color depth (gradations in colors) of up to 48 bits per frame, and can shoot the equivalent of 24 frames per second. The maximum possible number of bits of information used to film a one-hour (3,600-second) digital film is then an extremely large number.

Using a calculator, we enter $2,048×1,536×48×24×3,600 2,048×1,536×48×24×3,600$ and press ENTER. The calculator displays 1.304596316E13. What does this mean? The “E13” portion of the result represents the exponent 13 of ten, so there are a maximum of approximately $1.3× 10 13 1.3× 10 13$ bits of data in that one-hour film. In this section, we review rules of exponents first and then apply them to calculations involving very large or small numbers.

### Using the Product Rule of Exponents

Consider the product $x 3 ⋅ x 4 . x 3 ⋅ x 4 .$ Both terms have the same base, x, but they are raised to different exponents. Expand each expression, and then rewrite the resulting expression.

$x3⋅x4 = x⋅x⋅x3factors⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x 4factors = x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x7factors = x7 x3⋅x4 = x⋅x⋅x3factors⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x 4factors = x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x7factors = x7$

The result is that $x 3 ⋅ x 4 = x 3+4 = x 7 . x 3 ⋅ x 4 = x 3+4 = x 7 .$

Notice that the exponent of the product is the sum of the exponents of the terms. In other words, when multiplying exponential expressions with the same base, we write the result with the common base and add the exponents. This is the product rule of exponents.

$a m ⋅ a n = a m+n a m ⋅ a n = a m+n$

Now consider an example with real numbers.

$2 3 ⋅ 2 4 = 2 3+4 = 2 7 2 3 ⋅ 2 4 = 2 3+4 = 2 7$

We can always check that this is true by simplifying each exponential expression. We find that $2 3 2 3$ is 8, $2 4 2 4$ is 16, and $2 7 2 7$ is 128. The product $8⋅16 8⋅16$ equals 128, so the relationship is true. We can use the product rule of exponents to simplify expressions that are a product of two numbers or expressions with the same base but different exponents.

### The Product Rule of Exponents

For any real number $a a$ and natural numbers $m m$ and $n, n,$ the product rule of exponents states that

$a m ⋅ a n = a m+n a m ⋅ a n = a m+n$

### Example 1

#### Using the Product Rule

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further.

1. $t 5 ⋅ t 3 t 5 ⋅ t 3$
2. $( −3 ) 5 ⋅( −3 ) ( −3 ) 5 ⋅( −3 )$
3. $x 2 ⋅ x 5 ⋅ x 3 x 2 ⋅ x 5 ⋅ x 3$

### Try It #1

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further.

1. $k 6 ⋅ k 9 k 6 ⋅ k 9$
2. $( 2 y ) 4 ⋅( 2 y ) ( 2 y ) 4 ⋅( 2 y )$
3. $t 3 ⋅ t 6 ⋅ t 5 t 3 ⋅ t 6 ⋅ t 5$

### Using the Quotient Rule of Exponents

The quotient rule of exponents allows us to simplify an expression that divides two numbers with the same base but different exponents. In a similar way to the product rule, we can simplify an expression such as $y m y n , y m y n ,$ where $m>n. m>n.$ Consider the example $y 9 y 5 . y 9 y 5 .$ Perform the division by canceling common factors.

$y9y5 = y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅yy⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y = y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅yy⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y = y⋅y⋅y⋅y1 = y4 y9y5 = y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅yy⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y = y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅yy⋅y⋅y⋅y⋅y = y⋅y⋅y⋅y1 = y4$

Notice that the exponent of the quotient is the difference between the exponents of the divisor and dividend.

$a m a n = a m−n a m a n = a m−n$

In other words, when dividing exponential expressions with the same base, we write the result with the common base and subtract the exponents.

$y 9 y 5 = y 9−5 = y 4 y 9 y 5 = y 9−5 = y 4$

For the time being, we must be aware of the condition $m>n. m>n.$ Otherwise, the difference $m−n m−n$ could be zero or negative. Those possibilities will be explored shortly. Also, instead of qualifying variables as nonzero each time, we will simplify matters and assume from here on that all variables represent nonzero real numbers.

### The Quotient Rule of Exponents

For any real number $a a$ and natural numbers $m m$ and $n, n,$ such that $m>n, m>n,$ the quotient rule of exponents states that

$a m a n = a m−n a m a n = a m−n$

### Example 2

#### Using the Quotient Rule

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further.

1. $( −2 ) 14 ( −2 ) 9 ( −2 ) 14 ( −2 ) 9$
2. $t 23 t 15 t 23 t 15$
3. $( z 2 ) 5 z 2 ( z 2 ) 5 z 2$

### Try It #2

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further.

1. $s 75 s 68 s 75 s 68$
2. $( −3 ) 6 −3 ( −3 ) 6 −3$
3. $( e f 2 ) 5 ( e f 2 ) 3 ( e f 2 ) 5 ( e f 2 ) 3$

### Using the Power Rule of Exponents

Suppose an exponential expression is raised to some power. Can we simplify the result? Yes. To do this, we use the power rule of exponents. Consider the expression $( x 2 ) 3 . ( x 2 ) 3 .$ The expression inside the parentheses is multiplied twice because it has an exponent of 2. Then the result is multiplied three times because the entire expression has an exponent of 3.

$(x2)3 = (x2)⋅(x2)⋅(x2)3factors = (x⋅x︷2factors)⋅(x⋅x ︷2factors)⋅(x⋅x︷2factors)3factors = x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x = x6 (x2)3 = (x2)⋅(x2)⋅(x2)3factors = (x⋅x︷2factors)⋅(x⋅x ︷2factors)⋅(x⋅x︷2factors)3factors = x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x⋅x = x6$

The exponent of the answer is the product of the exponents: $( x 2 ) 3 = x 2⋅3 = x 6 . ( x 2 ) 3 = x 2⋅3 = x 6 .$ In other words, when raising an exponential expression to a power, we write the result with the common base and the product of the exponents.

$( a m ) n = a m⋅n ( a m ) n = a m⋅n$

Be careful to distinguish between uses of the product rule and the power rule. When using the product rule, different terms with the same bases are raised to exponents. In this case, you add the exponents. When using the power rule, a term in exponential notation is raised to a power. In this case, you multiply the exponents.

### The Power Rule of Exponents

For any real number $a a$ and positive integers $m m$ and $n, n,$ the power rule of exponents states that

$( a m ) n = a m⋅n ( a m ) n = a m⋅n$

### Example 3

#### Using the Power Rule

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further.

1. $( x 2 ) 7 ( x 2 ) 7$
2. $( ( 2t ) 5 ) 3 ( ( 2t ) 5 ) 3$
3. $( ( −3 ) 5 ) 11 ( ( −3 ) 5 ) 11$

### Try It #3

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further.

1. $( ( 3y ) 8 ) 3 ( ( 3y ) 8 ) 3$
2. $( t 5 ) 7 ( t 5 ) 7$
3. $( ( −g ) 4 ) 4 ( ( −g ) 4 ) 4$

### Using the Zero Exponent Rule of Exponents

Return to the quotient rule. We made the condition that $m>n m>n$ so that the difference $m−n m−n$ would never be zero or negative. What would happen if $m=n? m=n?$ In this case, we would use the zero exponent rule of exponents to simplify the expression to 1. To see how this is done, let us begin with an example.

$t 8 t 8 = t 8 t 8 =1 t 8 t 8 = t 8 t 8 =1$

If we were to simplify the original expression using the quotient rule, we would have

$t 8 t 8 = t 8−8 = t 0 t 8 t 8 = t 8−8 = t 0$

If we equate the two answers, the result is $t 0 =1. t 0 =1.$ This is true for any nonzero real number, or any variable representing a real number.

$a 0 =1 a 0 =1$

The sole exception is the expression $0 0 . 0 0 .$ This appears later in more advanced courses, but for now, we will consider the value to be undefined.

### The Zero Exponent Rule of Exponents

For any nonzero real number $a, a,$ the zero exponent rule of exponents states that

$a 0 =1 a 0 =1$

### Example 4

#### Using the Zero Exponent Rule

Simplify each expression using the zero exponent rule of exponents.

1. $c 3 c 3 c 3 c 3$
2. $−3 x 5 x 5 −3 x 5 x 5$
3. $( j 2 k ) 4 ( j 2 k )⋅ ( j 2 k ) 3 ( j 2 k ) 4 ( j 2 k )⋅ ( j 2 k ) 3$
4. $5 ( r s 2 ) 2 ( r s 2 ) 2 5 ( r s 2 ) 2 ( r s 2 ) 2$

### Try It #4

Simplify each expression using the zero exponent rule of exponents.

1. $t 7 t 7 t 7 t 7$
2. $( d e 2 ) 11 2 ( d e 2 ) 11 ( d e 2 ) 11 2 ( d e 2 ) 11$
3. $w 4 ⋅ w 2 w 6 w 4 ⋅ w 2 w 6$
4. $t 3 ⋅ t 4 t 2 ⋅ t 5 t 3 ⋅ t 4 t 2 ⋅ t 5$

### Using the Negative Rule of Exponents

Another useful result occurs if we relax the condition that $m>n m>n$ in the quotient rule even further. For example, can we simplify $h 3 h 5 ? h 3 h 5 ?$ When $m —that is, where the difference $m−n m−n$ is negative—we can use the negative rule of exponents to simplify the expression to its reciprocal.

Divide one exponential expression by another with a larger exponent. Use our example, $h 3 h 5 . h 3 h 5 .$

$h3h5 = h⋅h⋅hh⋅h⋅h⋅h⋅h = h⋅h⋅hh⋅h⋅h⋅h⋅h = 1h⋅h = 1h2 h3h5 = h⋅h⋅hh⋅h⋅h⋅h⋅h = h⋅h⋅hh⋅h⋅h⋅h⋅h = 1h⋅h = 1h2$

If we were to simplify the original expression using the quotient rule, we would have

$h3h5 = h3−5 = h−2 h3h5 = h3−5 = h−2$

Putting the answers together, we have $h −2 = 1 h 2 . h −2 = 1 h 2 .$ This is true for any nonzero real number, or any variable representing a nonzero real number.

A factor with a negative exponent becomes the same factor with a positive exponent if it is moved across the fraction bar—from numerator to denominator or vice versa.

$a −n = 1 a n and a n = 1 a −n a −n = 1 a n and a n = 1 a −n$

We have shown that the exponential expression $a n a n$ is defined when $n n$ is a natural number, 0, or the negative of a natural number. That means that $a n a n$ is defined for any integer $n. n.$ Also, the product and quotient rules and all of the rules we will look at soon hold for any integer $n. n.$

### The Negative Rule of Exponents

For any nonzero real number $a a$ and natural number $n, n,$ the negative rule of exponents states that

$a −n = 1 a n a −n = 1 a n$

### Example 5

#### Using the Negative Exponent Rule

Write each of the following quotients with a single base. Do not simplify further. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $θ 3 θ 10 θ 3 θ 10$
2. $z 2 ⋅z z 4 z 2 ⋅z z 4$
3. $( −5 t 3 ) 4 ( −5 t 3 ) 8 ( −5 t 3 ) 4 ( −5 t 3 ) 8$

### Try It #5

Write each of the following quotients with a single base. Do not simplify further. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $( −3t ) 2 ( −3t ) 8 ( −3t ) 2 ( −3t ) 8$
2. $f 47 f 49 ⋅f f 47 f 49 ⋅f$
3. $2 k 4 5 k 7 2 k 4 5 k 7$

### Example 6

#### Using the Product and Quotient Rules

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $b 2 ⋅ b −8 b 2 ⋅ b −8$
2. $( −x ) 5 ⋅ ( −x ) −5 ( −x ) 5 ⋅ ( −x ) −5$
3. $−7z ( −7z ) 5 −7z ( −7z ) 5$

### Try It #6

Write each of the following products with a single base. Do not simplify further. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $t −11 ⋅ t 6 t −11 ⋅ t 6$
2. $25 12 25 13 25 12 25 13$

### Finding the Power of a Product

To simplify the power of a product of two exponential expressions, we can use the power of a product rule of exponents, which breaks up the power of a product of factors into the product of the powers of the factors. For instance, consider $( pq ) 3 . ( pq ) 3 .$ We begin by using the associative and commutative properties of multiplication to regroup the factors.

$(pq)3 = (pq)⋅(pq)⋅(pq) 3factors = p⋅q⋅p⋅q⋅p⋅q = p⋅p⋅p 3factors⋅ q⋅q⋅q 3factors = p3⋅q3 (pq)3 = (pq)⋅(pq)⋅(pq) 3factors = p⋅q⋅p⋅q⋅p⋅q = p⋅p⋅p 3factors⋅ q⋅q⋅q 3factors = p3⋅q3$

In other words, $( pq ) 3 = p 3 ⋅ q 3 . ( pq ) 3 = p 3 ⋅ q 3 .$

### The Power of a Product Rule of Exponents

For any real numbers $a a$ and $b b$ and any integer $n, n,$ the power of a product rule of exponents states that

$( ab ) n = a n b n ( ab ) n = a n b n$

### Example 7

#### Using the Power of a Product Rule

Simplify each of the following products as much as possible using the power of a product rule. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $( a b 2 ) 3 ( a b 2 ) 3$
2. $( 2t ) 15 ( 2t ) 15$
3. $( −2 w 3 ) 3 ( −2 w 3 ) 3$
4. $1 ( −7z ) 4 1 ( −7z ) 4$
5. $( e −2 f 2 ) 7 ( e −2 f 2 ) 7$

### Try It #7

Simplify each of the following products as much as possible using the power of a product rule. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $( g 2 h 3 ) 5 ( g 2 h 3 ) 5$
2. $( 5t ) 3 ( 5t ) 3$
3. $( −3 y 5 ) 3 ( −3 y 5 ) 3$
4. $1 ( a 6 b 7 ) 3 1 ( a 6 b 7 ) 3$
5. $( r 3 s −2 ) 4 ( r 3 s −2 ) 4$

### Finding the Power of a Quotient

To simplify the power of a quotient of two expressions, we can use the power of a quotient rule, which states that the power of a quotient of factors is the quotient of the powers of the factors. For example, let’s look at the following example.

$( e −2 f 2 ) 7 = f 14 e 14 ( e −2 f 2 ) 7 = f 14 e 14$

Let’s rewrite the original problem differently and look at the result.

$(e−2f2)7 = ( f2 e2)7 = f14e14 (e−2f2)7 = ( f2 e2)7 = f14e14$

It appears from the last two steps that we can use the power of a product rule as a power of a quotient rule.

$( e −2 f 2 ) 7 = ( f 2 e 2 ) 7 = ( f 2 ) 7 ( e 2 ) 7 = f 2⋅7 e 2⋅7 = f 14 e 14 ( e −2 f 2 ) 7 = ( f 2 e 2 ) 7 = ( f 2 ) 7 ( e 2 ) 7 = f 2⋅7 e 2⋅7 = f 14 e 14$

### The Power of a Quotient Rule of Exponents

For any real numbers $a a$ and $b b$ and any integer $n, n,$ the power of a quotient rule of exponents states that

$( a b ) n = a n b n ( a b ) n = a n b n$

### Example 8

#### Using the Power of a Quotient Rule

Simplify each of the following quotients as much as possible using the power of a quotient rule. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $( 4 z 11 ) 3 ( 4 z 11 ) 3$
2. $( p q 3 ) 6 ( p q 3 ) 6$
3. $( −1 t 2 ) 27 ( −1 t 2 ) 27$
4. $( j 3 k −2 ) 4 ( j 3 k −2 ) 4$
5. $( m −2 n −2 ) 3 ( m −2 n −2 ) 3$

### Try It #8

Simplify each of the following quotients as much as possible using the power of a quotient rule. Write answers with positive exponents.

1. $( b 5 c ) 3 ( b 5 c ) 3$
2. $( 5 u 8 ) 4 ( 5 u 8 ) 4$
3. $( −1 w 3 ) 35 ( −1 w 3 ) 35$
4. $( p −4 q 3 ) 8 ( p −4 q 3 ) 8$
5. $( c −5 d −3 ) 4 ( c −5 d −3 ) 4$

### Simplifying Exponential Expressions

Recall that to simplify an expression means to rewrite it by combing terms or exponents; in other words, to write the expression more simply with fewer terms. The rules for exponents may be combined to simplify expressions.

### Example 9

#### Simplifying Exponential Expressions

Simplify each expression and write the answer with positive exponents only.

1. $( 6 m 2 n −1 ) 3 ( 6 m 2 n −1 ) 3$
2. $17 5 ⋅ 17 −4 ⋅ 17 −3 17 5 ⋅ 17 −4 ⋅ 17 −3$
3. $( u −1 v v −1 ) 2 ( u −1 v v −1 ) 2$
4. $( −2 a 3 b −1 )( 5 a −2 b 2 ) ( −2 a 3 b −1 )( 5 a −2 b 2 )$
5. $( x 2 2 ) 4 ( x 2 2 ) −4 ( x 2 2 ) 4 ( x 2 2 ) −4$
6. $( 3 w 2 ) 5 ( 6 w −2 ) 2 ( 3 w 2 ) 5 ( 6 w −2 ) 2$

### Try It #9

Simplify each expression and write the answer with positive exponents only.

1. $( 2u v −2 ) −3 ( 2u v −2 ) −3$
2. $x 8 ⋅ x −12 ⋅x x 8 ⋅ x −12 ⋅x$
3. $( e 2 f −3 f −1 ) 2 ( e 2 f −3 f −1 ) 2$
4. $( 9 r −5 s 3 )( 3 r 6 s −4 ) ( 9 r −5 s 3 )( 3 r 6 s −4 )$
5. $( 4 9 t w −2 ) −3 ( 4 9 t w −2 ) 3 ( 4 9 t w −2 ) −3 ( 4 9 t w −2 ) 3$
6. $( 2 h 2 k ) 4 ( 7 h −1 k 2 ) 2 ( 2 h 2 k ) 4 ( 7 h −1 k 2 ) 2$

### Using Scientific Notation

Recall at the beginning of the section that we found the number $1.3× 10 13 1.3× 10 13$ when describing bits of information in digital images. Other extreme numbers include the width of a human hair, which is about 0.00005 m, and the radius of an electron, which is about 0.00000000000047 m. How can we effectively work read, compare, and calculate with numbers such as these?

A shorthand method of writing very small and very large numbers is called scientific notation, in which we express numbers in terms of exponents of 10. To write a number in scientific notation, move the decimal point to the right of the first digit in the number. Write the digits as a decimal number between 1 and 10. Count the number of places n that you moved the decimal point. Multiply the decimal number by 10 raised to a power of n. If you moved the decimal left as in a very large number, $n n$ is positive. If you moved the decimal right as in a small large number, $n n$ is negative.

For example, consider the number 2,780,418. Move the decimal left until it is to the right of the first nonzero digit, which is 2. We obtain 2.780418 by moving the decimal point 6 places to the left. Therefore, the exponent of 10 is 6, and it is positive because we moved the decimal point to the left. This is what we should expect for a large number.

$2.780418× 10 6 2.780418× 10 6$

Working with small numbers is similar. Take, for example, the radius of an electron, 0.00000000000047 m. Perform the same series of steps as above, except move the decimal point to the right. Be careful not to include the leading 0 in your count. We move the decimal point 13 places to the right, so the exponent of 10 is 13. The exponent is negative because we moved the decimal point to the right. This is what we should expect for a small number.

$4.7× 10 −13 4.7× 10 −13$

### Scientific Notation

A number is written in scientific notation if it is written in the form $a× 10 n , a× 10 n ,$ where $1≤| a |<10 1≤| a |<10$ and $n n$ is an integer.

### Example 10

#### Converting Standard Notation to Scientific Notation

Write each number in scientific notation.

Distance to Andromeda Galaxy from Earth: 24,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 m

Diameter of Andromeda Galaxy: 1,300,000,000,000,000,000,000 m

Number of stars in Andromeda Galaxy: 1,000,000,000,000

Diameter of electron: 0.00000000000094 m

Probability of being struck by lightning in any single year: 0.00000143

#### Analysis

Observe that, if the given number is greater than 1, as in examples a–c, the exponent of 10 is positive; and if the number is less than 1, as in examples d–e, the exponent is negative.

### Try It #10

Write each number in scientific notation.

1. U.S. national debt per taxpayer (April 2014): $152,000 2. World population (April 2014): 7,158,000,000 3. World gross national income (April 2014):$85,500,000,000,000
4. Time for light to travel 1 m: 0.00000000334 s
5. Probability of winning lottery (match 6 of 49 possible numbers): 0.0000000715

#### Converting from Scientific to Standard Notation

To convert a number in scientific notation to standard notation, simply reverse the process. Move the decimal $n n$ places to the right if $n n$ is positive or $n n$ places to the left if $n n$ is negative and add zeros as needed. Remember, if $n n$ is positive, the value of the number is greater than 1, and if $n n$ is negative, the value of the number is less than one.

### Example 11

#### Converting Scientific Notation to Standard Notation

Convert each number in scientific notation to standard notation.

1. $3.547× 10 14 3.547× 10 14$
2. $−2× 10 6 −2× 10 6$
3. $7.91× 10 −7 7.91× 10 −7$
4. $−8.05× 10 −12 −8.05× 10 −12$

### Try It #11

Convert each number in scientific notation to standard notation.

1. $7.03× 10 5 7.03× 10 5$
2. $−8.16× 10 11 −8.16× 10 11$
3. $−3.9× 10 −13 −3.9× 10 −13$
4. $8× 10 −6 8× 10 −6$

#### Using Scientific Notation in Applications

Scientific notation, used with the rules of exponents, makes calculating with large or small numbers much easier than doing so using standard notation. For example, suppose we are asked to calculate the number of atoms in 1 L of water. Each water molecule contains 3 atoms (2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen). The average drop of water contains around $1.32× 10 21 1.32× 10 21$ molecules of water and 1 L of water holds about $1.22× 10 4 1.22× 10 4$ average drops. Therefore, there are approximately $3⋅( 1.32× 10 21 )⋅( 1.22× 10 4 )≈4.83× 10 25 3⋅( 1.32× 10 21 )⋅( 1.22× 10 4 )≈4.83× 10 25$ atoms in 1 L of water. We simply multiply the decimal terms and add the exponents. Imagine having to perform the calculation without using scientific notation!

When performing calculations with scientific notation, be sure to write the answer in proper scientific notation. For example, consider the product $( 7× 10 4 )⋅( 5× 10 6 )=35× 10 10 . ( 7× 10 4 )⋅( 5× 10 6 )=35× 10 10 .$ The answer is not in proper scientific notation because 35 is greater than 10. Consider 35 as $3.5×10. 3.5×10.$ That adds a ten to the exponent of the answer.

$( 35 )× 10 10 =( 3.5×10 )× 10 10 =3.5×( 10× 10 10 )=3.5× 10 11 ( 35 )× 10 10 =( 3.5×10 )× 10 10 =3.5×( 10× 10 10 )=3.5× 10 11$

### Example 12

#### Using Scientific Notation

Perform the operations and write the answer in scientific notation.

1. $( 8.14× 10 −7 )( 6.5× 10 10 ) ( 8.14× 10 −7 )( 6.5× 10 10 )$
2. $( 4× 10 5 )÷( −1.52× 10 9 ) ( 4× 10 5 )÷( −1.52× 10 9 )$
3. $( 2.7× 10 5 )( 6.04× 10 13 ) ( 2.7× 10 5 )( 6.04× 10 13 )$
4. $( 1.2× 10 8 )÷( 9.6× 10 5 ) ( 1.2× 10 8 )÷( 9.6× 10 5 )$
5. $( 3.33× 10 4 )( −1.05× 10 7 )( 5.62× 10 5 ) ( 3.33× 10 4 )( −1.05× 10 7 )( 5.62× 10 5 )$

### Try It #12

Perform the operations and write the answer in scientific notation.

1. $( −7.5× 10 8 )( 1.13× 10 −2 ) ( −7.5× 10 8 )( 1.13× 10 −2 )$
2. $( 1.24× 10 11 )÷( 1.55× 10 18 ) ( 1.24× 10 11 )÷( 1.55× 10 18 )$
3. $( 3.72× 10 9 )( 8× 10 3 ) ( 3.72× 10 9 )( 8× 10 3 )$
4. $( 9.933× 10 23 )÷( −2.31× 10 17 ) ( 9.933× 10 23 )÷( −2.31× 10 17 )$
5. $( −6.04× 10 9 )( 7.3× 10 2 )( −2.81× 10 2 ) ( −6.04× 10 9 )( 7.3× 10 2 )( −2.81× 10 2 )$

### Example 13

#### Technology

For the following exercises, use a graphing calculator to simplify. Round the answers to the nearest hundredth.

51.

$( 12 3 m 33 4 −3 ) 2 ( 12 3 m 33 4 −3 ) 2$

52.

$17 3 ÷ 15 2 x 3 17 3 ÷ 15 2 x 3$

#### Extensions

For the following exercises, simplify the given expression. Write answers with positive exponents.

53.

$( 3 2 a 3 ) −2 ( a 4 2 2 ) 2 ( 3 2 a 3 ) −2 ( a 4 2 2 ) 2$

54.

$( 6 2 −24 ) 2 ÷ ( x y ) −5 ( 6 2 −24 ) 2 ÷ ( x y ) −5$

55.

$m 2 n 3 a 2 c −3 ⋅ a −7 n −2 m 2 c 4 m 2 n 3 a 2 c −3 ⋅ a −7 n −2 m 2 c 4$

56.

$( x 6 y 3 x 3 y −3 ⋅ y −7 x −3 ) 10 ( x 6 y 3 x 3 y −3 ⋅ y −7 x −3 ) 10$

57.

$( ( a b 2 c ) −3 b −3 ) 2 ( ( a b 2 c ) −3 b −3 ) 2$

58.

Avogadro’s constant is used to calculate the number of particles in a mole. A mole is a basic unit in chemistry to measure the amount of a substance. The constant is $6.0221413× 10 23 . 6.0221413× 10 23 .$ Write Avogadro’s constant in standard notation.

59.

Planck’s constant is an important unit of measure in quantum physics. It describes the relationship between energy and frequency. The constant is written as $6.62606957× 10 −34 . 6.62606957× 10 −34 .$ Write Planck’s constant in standard notation.