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Scientific Notation

Reference > Mathematics > TI-30X II

Dealing with especially large numbers, can get cumbersome. And what's more, if the number is toolarge, it won't even fit on the display of your calculator. Try the following:

99 9 =

Your calculator will respond to this request with an answer in scientific notation. It will look like this:


This just means that to get to get the answer, you'd have to take 9.135172475 and multiply it by 10 seventeen times. That's a very large number.

Now try this: type a 1 followed by 12 zeros. When you press ENTER, the calculator will display this as:


Makes sense, doesn't it? you pressed zero 12 times, so that's the same as multiplying 1 by 10, twelve times!

But can you enter a number in scientific notation yourself? For example, if you want to enter the number 5x1025, is there a way to do it without pressing zero 25 times?

Yes, there is! And it's quite easy. Find the x-1button, and look above it. You'll see the text EE. This is the scientific notation button. So try this:

5 2nd EE 25 = 

You'll see that your calculator now displays:


Sometimes students are tempted to enter5x1025, since it gives the same result. However, this is not the preferred method. Why?

Sometimes (and I see this often in physics calculations involving gravity!), you will have a calculation which has scientific notation in the denominator of a fraction.

Try typing these:

5 ÷ 2 2nd EE 20
5 ÷ 2 x 10 20

Do you get the same answer? No! Because in the second example, the division happens before the multiplication, giving an incorrect answer!

What is the value of 2200 (give your answer to three decimal places)?

1.607 x 1060


What is the value of 7^77 (give your answer to 3 decimal places)?
What is the value of 4^20 + 2 ^ 40 (give your answer to 3 decimal places)?
What is the value of 2 x 10 ^ 10 divided by 3 x 10 ^ 8 (give your answer to 3 decimal places)?
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