Power of 10

This article is about the mathematical concept. For other uses, see Power of 10 (disambiguation).
Visualisation of powers of 10 from one to 1 billion.

In mathematics, a power of 10 is any of the integer powers of the number ten; in other words, ten multiplied by itself a certain number of times (when the power is a positive integer). By definition, the number one is a power (the zeroth power) of ten. The first few non-negative powers of ten are:

1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000, 10000000. ... (sequence A011557 in the OEIS)

Positive powers

In decimal notation the nth power of ten is written as '1' followed by n zeroes. It can also be written as 10n or as 1En in E notation. See order of magnitude and orders of magnitude (numbers) for named powers of ten. There are two conventions for naming positive powers of ten, called the long and short scales. Where a power of ten has different names in the two conventions, the long scale name is shown in brackets.

The positive 10 power related to a short scale name can be determined based on its Latin name-prefix using the following formula: 10 [(prefix-number + 1) × 3]

Examples: billion = 10 [(2 + 1) × 3] = 10 9 ; octillion = 10 [(8 + 1) × 3] = 10 27

Name Power Number SI symbol SI prefix
One01(none)(none)
Ten110da(D)deca
Hundred2100 h(H)hecto
Thousand 3 1,000 k(K)kilo
Ten Thousand (Myriad) 4 10,000
Hundred Thousand 5 100,000
Million 6 1,000,000 Mmega
Billion (Milliard) 9 1,000,000,000 Ggiga
Trillion (Billion) 12 1,000,000,000,000 Ttera
Quadrillion (Billiard)151,000,000,000,000,000Ppeta
Quintillion (Trillion) 181,000,000,000,000,000,000Eexa
Sextillion (Trilliard)211,000,000,000,000,000,000,000Zzetta
Septillion (Quadrillion) 241,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000Yyotta
Octillion (Quadrilliard) 271,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Nonillion (Quintillion) 301,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Decillion (Quintilliard) 331,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Undecillion (Sextillion) 361,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Duodecillion (Sextilliard) 391,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Tredecillion (Septillion) 421,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Quattuordecillion (Septilliard) 451,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Quindecillion (Octillion) 481,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
...............
Googol 10010,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
...............

Negative powers

The sequence of powers of ten can also be extended to negative powers.

Similarly to above, the negative 10 power related to a short scale name can be determined based on its Latin name-prefix using the following formula: 10 -[(prefix-number + 1) × 3]

Examples: billionth = 10 -[(2 + 1) × 3] = 10 -9 ; quintillionth = 10 -[(5 + 1) × 3] = 10 -18

Name Power Number SI symbol SI prefix
One 01(none)(none)
Tenth 10.1ddeci
Hundredth 20.01ccenti
Thousandth 30.001mmilli
Ten Thousandth (Myriadth) 40.000 1
Hundred Thousandth 50.000 01
Millionth 60.000 001μmicro
Billionth 90.000 000 001nnano
Trillionth 120.000 000 000 001ppico
Quadrillionth 150.000 000 000 000 001f femto
Quintillionth 180.000 000 000 000 000 001aatto
Sextillionth 210.000 000 000 000 000 000 001zzepto
Septillionth 240.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001yyocto
Octillionth 270.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Nonillionth 300.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Decillionth 330.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Undecillionth 360.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Duodecillionth 390.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Tredecillionth 420.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Quattuordecillionth 450.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Quindecillionth 480.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
...............

Googol

Main article: googol

The number googol is 10100. The term was coined by 9-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, popularized in his 1940 book Mathematics and the Imagination, it was used to compare and illustrate very large numbers. Googolplex, a much larger power of ten (10 to the googol power, or 1010100), was also introduced in that book.

Scientific notation

Main article: Scientific notation

Scientific notation is a way of writing numbers of very large and very small sizes compactly when precision is less important.

A number written in scientific notation has a significand (sometime called a mantissa) multiplied by a power of ten.

Sometimes written in the form:

m × 10n

Or more compactly as:

10n

This is generally used to denote powers of 10. Where n is positive, this indicates the number zeros after the number, and where the n is negative, this indicates the number of decimal places before the number.

As an example:

105 = 100,000[1]
10−5 = 0.00001[2]

The notation of mEn, known as E notation, is used in computer programming, spreadsheets and databases, but is not used in scientific papers.

Further reading

Video
• Powers of Ten (1977). Nine-minute film. US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), made by Charles and Ray Eames. "An adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this film transports the viewer to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward - into the hand of the sleeping picnicker - with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell."

References

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