The purpose of scientific notation is for scientists to write very large, or very small, numbers with ease.
Calculating scientific notation for a positive integer is simple, as it always follows this notation:
a x 10b
Follow the steps below to see how 542,159 is written in scientific notation.
To find a, take the number and move a decimal place to the right one position.
Now, to find b, count how many places to the right of the decimal.
There are 5 places to the right of the decimal place.
Building upon what we know above, we can now reconstruct the number into scientific notation.
Remember, the notation is: a x 10b
a = 5.42159
b = 5
Now the whole thing:
5.42159 x 105
Check your work:
105 = 100,000 x 5.42159 = 542,159