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Scientific Notation

  1. Mar 19, 2004 #1
    My physics teacher deducted a point from my test for using E instead of x10, She never specified that she didn't want E, and in my opinion, E is much easier to write than x10. She said it was not the proper way to write it. What are your opinions?

    -- Klaser
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2004 #2
    My teacher doesn't like giving someone a 100 mark, so she always finds something to punish you for. One time I forgot to add an arrow to the top of the axis and she deducted a point for that. So my advice is not to take it so seriously. It's true that it's usually preferable to follow common standards, but if I saw [tex]6.63 {E}^{-34}[/tex] somewhere I would immediately understand what it means, and so would your teacher. She obviously understood what you meant by E, or else she would have asked "what does this mean" rather than say "please don't do this anymore". How much did you get, by the way, 99?
     
  4. Mar 19, 2004 #3

    enigma

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    I think that's absurd.

    Type 4e3 into any software program and it knows what you're talking about. Read any technical paper which says 8e4 and you know what it means.

    Was the problem specifically on scientific notation?
     
  5. Mar 19, 2004 #4
    Yeah, that is absurd...If I were you, I would rock the boat. See, our books always use an E, so I would claim that it didn't make sense everytime i saw it. Either it's the same or it isnt, and it's wrong that she did that.
     
  6. Mar 19, 2004 #5
    Thanks for your responces. Decker, may I inquire as to which book you have?
     
  7. Mar 19, 2004 #6
    Your teacher should give you extra credit for the contribution that you made. You taught your classmates something that she apparently missed. An apology is in order as well.
     
  8. Mar 19, 2004 #7

    jcsd

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    Personally I think your teachers correct, while it's acceptable for a calculator to display something as 8e4, 8e+4, 8E4, 8 EE 4, etc. or to use a simlair display as an input/output for a computer program or even use a smlair notation on a message board, there's absolutely no reason to write/type it like that when doing a piece of work. Though it may be scientific notation on calculators it is not the standard form for displaying numbers using scientific notation and opens they way for confusion. If I saw 8e+4 written on a piece of paper, I'd assume that the 'e' stood for the 'exponential constant' and not 'exponent', simlairly if the E was capitalized I'd automatically assume it stood for energy unless otherwise stated.
     
  9. Mar 21, 2004 #8

    Monique

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    I have to agree with jcsd.

    e^3 and e3 are confusable, e^3 = 20.0855 etc and e3 = 1000.
     
  10. Mar 21, 2004 #9

    Janitor

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    I would say the teacher is nitpicking unfairly. I had a chemistry teacher who counted my answer of "melting point" wrong on a test because she thought I should have said "freezing point." I kid you not.
     
  11. Mar 21, 2004 #10
    Decker, rock the boat? For a single point on a test which won't matter one bit once the semester is over?
     
  12. Mar 21, 2004 #11
    I agree, it is probably not worth it. You would only annoy the teacher by suggesting he is wrong, and do you really want to get on your teacher's bad side?
     
  13. Mar 21, 2004 #12

    Monique

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    I sure knew some nitpicking math teachers myself.. in the calculations I didn't write one of the decimals, but in the final answer I DID put all the correct decimals.

    I didn't get a single point for that question, while the answer was correct, and the way coming to the answer was correct too (except for the missing decimal inbetween somewhere).
     
  14. Mar 21, 2004 #13

    jcsd

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    As I siad before the teacher was correct to do this, Decker used a form he shouldn't of.

    Janitors teacher tho was probably too harsh, the melting point and freezing point of a liquid are theoretically the same and both are techincal terms. Unless the question was rleated to supercolling or something simlairly I dont see why the terms canniot be used interchanably.

    Monique, the problem probably was that by missing a decimal you wrote an inequality as an equality which would of lost you a mark for workings.
     
  15. Mar 21, 2004 #14

    Monique

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    An inequality as an equality? The question was about geometry where an angle needed to be calculated, with basically a+b=c, where I rounded b but when calculating c used the whole number with decimals according to the number of decimals that were given in the body of the question.
     
  16. Mar 21, 2004 #15

    jcsd

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    Yes, with b rounded up, but c obtained using the exact value of b, a + b = c would be infact an inequality rather than the equality displayed.
     
  17. Mar 21, 2004 #16

    Monique

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    But then not giving a single point for the whole question? :( Since the reasoning was correct, and the final answer was too in every single way. But it doesn't really matter since it was a really long time ago I took that exam.. but I still remembered :P
     
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