I'm using Mathematica 12.3.

You can use ScientificForm[] to display a number using scientific notation irregardless of its magnitude. When using Around[] this behaviour seems broken. For example:

>> 1.*10^(-2)

ScientificForm@Around[{.01, .02}]
>> 0.015±0.007

The Around still displays in scientific form when numbers are small enough for the default scientific notation to kick in.

Around[{.000001, .000002}]
>> (1.5±0.7)*10^(-6)

Is there a way to still get this working? Is this is a bug?


1 Answer 1


The various *Form functions are wrappers that trigger special display functionality. They are targeted to particular types of expressions. For example, TableForm is intended to be used with List-headed expressions, and it won't have any visible effect on other expressions (although it will still be there as a wrapper).

My guess here is that no display functionality has been implemented for ScientificForm when applied to Around expressions.

You could force the issue:

MapAt[ScientificForm, Around[{.01, .02}], 1]

I don't know what the consequences of that will be if you try to use that modified Around expression in further computations.

In addition, the documentation labels Around as Experimental, so I don't think it's appropriate to report this as a bug.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer and workaround! Note for those who want to use this workaround: it only applies scientific form to the value, not the uncertainty. So it produces slightly different results than expected. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I assumed that's what would be wanted. You could also just map ScientificForm to everything: ScientificForm /@ Around[{.01, .02}]. $\endgroup$
    – lericr
    Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Ideally I would want it to look like (1.5±0.7)*10^(-6) but it's okay I will just have to do it a little more manually $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ You could define your own bespoke display function. $\endgroup$
    – lericr
    Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 15:11

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