# Entering numbers in Scientific Notation?

I need to play with a lot of powers such as 10^-3. 1E-3 does not work for it. Is there any short form for it?

• Scientific notation is very convenient in programming. – dtn Jan 15 at 6:10

To enter $3\times10^{-3}$, you can write 3*^-3.

For further reference, see Input Syntax: Numbers.

• Yeah... it's indeed very surprising. Even Google does a bad job of leading to the correct syntax (of course that's before this answer became popular — now this is one of the top answers). – Shashank Sawant Oct 31 '14 at 8:44
• That notation looks SO funny and wrong to me. Where did it come from, and why not use the old E notation which many people already know? – Ralph Dratman May 2 '17 at 18:07
• @Ralph: Because in Mathematica E already means $e\approx 2.718$, so 3E-3 is interpreted as $3e-3$. – user484 May 2 '17 at 18:38
• It's so easy to think of and to write 3*10^-3 that people might not be motivated to look for another way. I've seen hundreds of notebooks and only very rarely seen the *^ notation. – Reb.Cabin Oct 13 '18 at 3:17
• The E notation works when importing data from a file with a CSV extension and in which the data values are separated by commas. – CElliott Aug 21 '19 at 14:32

I ran into this as well teaching some solubility chemistry (it's logs all the way down). The notation can get in the way, but most students can keep up with 1×10^-5 syntax - just don't forget to wrap it in brackets i.e.:

1*^-10/1*^-5 == (1×10^-10)/(1×10^-5)
(* True *)


NB: the × in 1×10 is added automatically when pushing space.

Sure, easy.
100,000 = 1*^5
1/10 = 1*^-1
1/6 = 6*^-1
3200 = 32 *^ 2
Try it and see!

Ratch

• Is the $1/6$ an error ? That would rather be 6^-1 – Dunlop Jan 14 at 19:56
• Sorry 6*^-1 = 6/10 = 3/5 – Ratch Jan 15 at 5:54