Oftentimes, when we deal with calculations in chemistry, we're going to run into the situation where we're dealing with extremely large numbers and extremely small numbers. Now, a convenient way to deal with this is scientific notation. Scientific notation is used to turn these small or large inconvenient numbers into manageable ones. So, here we have an example of something written in scientific notation. We say it's 6.88×10-12. Now, what's in red is called our coefficient. The coefficient is just the beginning part of the value that is equal to or greater than 1, but less than 10.

Next, we have our base, which is here. This is the portion of the scientific notation value that is always 10. So, that number is always going to be 10 if we're writing something in scientific notation. And then finally, the exponent, which we sometimes call the power. This is the number of places the decimal was moved to create the scientific notation value.

We'll talk about, in a couple of videos, what happens when it's positive versus negative. What effect does that have on my value overall? Another important thing when it comes to this exponent is that it must be expressed as a whole number integer. So -12, +3, -2 can't be decimals or fractions, they must be whole numbers. Now that we know the basic layout of scientific notation, click on the next video, and let's take a look at the example question.