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When is it appropriate or not to convert your answer into scientific notation? For example, in the homework, I got an answer as 1330 while the solutions manual has the answer as 1.3x10^3. Does it even make a difference which answer I write?
Scientific notation is most likely used in that sense if they are paying attention to significant figures in the calculations. Depending on the least amount of sig figs in one of ur numbers for calculation, you might put your answer into scientific notation to match the number of sig figs.
Technically, there is not a difference between a number in standard form versus the number in scientific notation, but scientific notation is typically used in chemistry. Scientific notation makes it easier to understand how many sig figs a number has and makes comparing amounts and values much easier. I've been converting my answers on homework and tests to scientific notation just to be safe, because I know scientific notation is usually preferred in chemistry.
There really isn't a difference but I would get use to writing in scientific notation as Dr. Lavelle said scientific notation is often used is in the lab. there is no specific time to convert it to scientific notation. I would just automatically make it into scientific notation just in case. It is also often easier to read.
It matters for things like sig figs. For instance, if your answer was 1330. but you only had 3 sig figs to work with, you would put it into scientific notation ie 1.33 *10^3 because this way you have the same answer and you have the right amount of sig figs.
You should generally convert your answers to scientific notation when 1) dealing with large numbers, 2) dealing with small numbers, or 3) to indicate significant figures with zeros (i.e. 5600 with 4 sig figs: 5.600 * 10^3)
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