As its name implies, scientific notation is most frequently employed by scientists. According to the Franciscan University of Steubenville, scientists who must work with extremely large or extremely small numbers frequently employ scientific notation to make these numbers more manageable.
Typically, scientists who employ scientific notation extensively engage in domains that investigate extremely vast or extremely small objects and distances. For instance, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research reports that astronomers frequently employ scientific notation when performing calculations. Astronomers are required to work with extremely large numbers, such as the speed of light, which can be written as 300,000,000 metres per second or, more simply, 3.0 x 108 metres per second. Additionally, geologists and physicists must utilise scientific notation when dealing with extremely high numbers.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, microbiologists and physicians must deal with extremely small quantities. For instance, the influenza virus has a diameter of approximately.0001 millimetres. This is written more clearly as 1.0 x 10-4 millimetres. Engineers must also occasionally employ scientific notation.
In some professions, scientific notation is used to represent both large and small numbers. For instance, chemists must be able to debate the size of molecules, which are typically quite small, and the number of atoms in a substance, which is typically extremely enormous.