In the early 1970s scientific calculators, often referred to as "slide rule calculators", became commonplace. Most of these calculators had the ability to display from eight to ten digits, depending on the manufacturer. Scientific calculations, however, often involve numbers that contain more than eight or ten digits. To overcome the limitation of an eight-or-ten-digit display, slide rule calculators depend on scientific notation. When a number becomes too large for the calculator to display, scientific notation is used automatically. Scientific Notations are used when numbers are too large or too small in the concise form.

Scientific notation is a way of writing numbers that look like this.
A number with just one digit to the left of the decimal point times 10 to a power. For example, the number 5.280 could be written in scientific notation as
5.280 x 10$^{3}$
the exponent is 3 because 10$^{3}$ = 1.000
1.000 x 5.280 = 5.280

In all cases, scientific notation represents figures in terms of a number that is 1 or greater and less than 10, multiplied by 10, and raised to a power.

Examples on Scientific Notation

1. 595 = 5.95 x 10$^{2}$
2. 88.500 = 8.85 x 10$^{4}$
3. 0.1590 = 1.590 x 10$^{-1}$

The exponent is negative since the decimal will have to go to the left to get it back to its original location.
0.000039 = 3.9 x 10$^{-4}$

Scientific notations are used to denote very large or very small numbers in a concise form. The numbers written in scientific notation are of the form.

a × 10m, where 1 $\leq$ a < 10 and m is an integer.

Usually, a negative power is avoided except for scientific notations.