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Converting scientific notation to standard digit numbers

  1. Apr 28, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I'm trying to convert something like 1.25^-03 into it's standard number composed of standard decimals using a calculator (0.0125) - if you know what I mean.


    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2013 #2

    BruceW

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    When you say 1.25^-03 I'm guessing you actually mean [itex]1.25 \times 10^{-3}[/itex] ? Also, this does not convert to 0.0125. Almost, but not quite right. Think how many places should the decimal point move?
     
  4. Apr 28, 2013 #3
    Sorry, i'll give a little more info.
    It's a molar mass (chemistry) calculation. In a scientific calculator then it gives me an answer with a variable as shown below:

    [itex]Number\ of\ moles = 0.05 * 0.025 = 1.25^{-03} [/itex]

    Just I don't like working with scientific notations and would rather read an answer like I get with a pocket calculator:

    [itex]Number\ of\ moles = 0.05 * 0.025 = 0.00125 [/itex]

    So is it possible to program a calculator to display a number without scientific notation unless the number is so large that it cannot be displayed on the screen without a exponent?
     
  5. Apr 28, 2013 #4

    BruceW

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    It's really [itex]1.25 \times 10^{-3}[/itex] even though the calculator might write the 10 quite small, so maybe this is why you missed it. The number [itex]1.25^{-3}[/itex] is a different thing altogether.

    It depends on the calculator. You would need to read the manual, which may be online if you google the name of the model of calculator you have. For example, with my calculator, each time I press shift and ENG, it will give an extra 3 places, so in the calculation you mentioned, I would press shift and ENG once, and it would turn the answer into 0.00125

    The only problem with this is that you have to press the button after every calculation, to turn it into the 'pocket calculator answer'. But your calculator might be different.
     
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