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Scientific notation is composed of three parts called the "coefficient" (or "significand"), the "base" and the "exponent". Numerically, the base is always the number 10 (ten). In the general form:-

a x 10b

a is the coefficient (or significand)

10 (ten) is the base

b is the exponent

Thus, the number 103000 can be expressed in scientific notation as:-

103 x 103

10.3 x 104

1.03 x 105

and all of these have the same numerical value. By convention, and for ease of recognition, it is common practice to use exponents that are multiples of 3 e.g.

103 106 109

The exponent can also be negative to express very small quantities e.g.

1 x 10-6

is the same as 0.000001, or one millionth.

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Q: What are three parts of a scientific notation?

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