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Is Google math really wrong?

  1. Sep 3, 2013 #1
    Check it out: https://www.google.com/search?q=cubic+cm+to+cubic+m

    According to my math, 1 cubic centimeter equals 1x10-7 cubic meters not 1x10-6 cubic meters.

    Is is my calculator broken, or is this why Hubble telescope is near-sighted?

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2013 #2
    Can you show your math?
  4. Sep 3, 2013 #3

    D H

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    It probably works just fine. It's most likely operator error.

    Make your calculator to calculate (10-2)3. The answer should be 10-6.
  5. Sep 3, 2013 #4
    cubic cm x cube with dimensions 100cm x 100cm x 100cm = 1,000,000. So cubic cm is 1/1,000,000 cubic m.

    1x10e-6 = .00001. 1/1,000,000 is either 1 x 10e-7, or 1e-6, but not 10e-6, right?
  6. Sep 3, 2013 #5
    You're getting confused by notation.

    The notation "AeN" means "Ax10N".

    Google did not use this notation, because it is confusing and should be avoided. Google wrote, correctly, 1.0 x 10-6. You misinterpreted that to mean "10e-6," but really it means "1e-6".
  7. Sep 3, 2013 #6
    May thanks. Got it!
  8. Sep 3, 2013 #7

    D H

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    It is something you can't avoid. I certainly wouldn't want to enter 6.0221×1023 into a calculator by entering 602210000000000000000000. Yech! It's much easier to enter 6.0221 * 1023 as a calculation, but easier yet is to enter it is 6.0221e23. Regardless of which approach one uses to enter that number, it will be displayed as 6.0221e23 (or 6.0221E23 on a TI).

    The same applies to data entered into or read from a computer program. Scientific e notation is ubiquitous. It's almost impossible to avoid it, and it is not confusing once one learns it.
  9. Sep 5, 2013 #8
    Still it is maybe easy to misinterpret for those not used to it. That fact that 10e-6 = 10-5 is well, confusing to the newbie. If the issue is its hard to type superscripts, I'd vote for how excel does it, 10^-6.

    Interestingly the Wikipedia article on the subject said " The use of this notation is not encouraged in publications".
  10. Sep 5, 2013 #9

    D H

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    Excel displays very large and very small numbers using scientific e notation. You can also enter data into Excel using that notation.
  11. Sep 5, 2013 #10


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    Every notation can be misinterpreted. e notation is well established and perfectly unambiguous.
  12. Sep 5, 2013 #11


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    e notation could be made better if people could come up with a unique symbol to replace e.
  13. Sep 5, 2013 #12


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    1.234 * 1056 (with a proper multiplication sign) is preferred, indeed. For publications, the time to write numbers does not matter. If you want to type numbers in a calculator, things are different.
  14. Sep 8, 2013 #13


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    e notation is convenient because all necessary characters are found on standard keyboards, and there is no special text formatting, eg. superscripts for the exponents.

    If by "unique symbol" you mean something that is not found on standard keyboards, then that would defeat the purpose of this notation.

    Really, once you learn it, e notation is not a big deal.
  15. Sep 9, 2013 #14


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    Including the keypunch devices that were the only way of interacting with computers back when FORTRAN was invented.... Which is, I believe, where the notation came from.
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