As Lavoisier discovered, it is necessary to develop a an efficient language in science. In chemistry, numbers can be large and small so scientific notation was developed to express them numerically. however, that is only part of the picture. It is also necessary to develop a way to easily express them in text. Prefixes accomplish this task. Below is a list of some of the more common prefixes:

powers of 10 powers of 1/10

10 deca

100 hecta

1000 kilo

1,000,000 mega

1,000,000,000 giga

1,000,000,000,000 tera

0.1 deci ("one tenth")

0.01 centi ("one hundreth")

0.001 milli ("one thousandth")

0.000001 micro ("one millionth')

0.000000001 nano ("one billionth')

0.000000000001 pico ("one triionth")

0.000000000000001 fempto

With these prefixes large and small quantities can be expressed efficiently. e.g.,

1000 grams = 1 kilo gram = 1 kg

0.001 meters = 1 millimeter = 1 mm

and so on ...

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C101 Class Notes
Prof. N. De Leon