Here are some resources for understanding scientific notation, prefixes, and chemical symbols three tools that are used extensively in the process of shipping radioactive materials by air.

Scientific Notation


 

Scientific notation is the way that scientists easily handle very large numbers or very small numbers.  For example, instead of writing 0.0000000056, we write 5.6 x 109. So, how does this work?

We can think of 5.6 x 109 as the product of two numbers: 5.6 (the digit term) and 109 (the exponential term).

Here are some examples of scientific notation.

 

 

10000 = 1 x 104 24327 = 2.4327 x 104
1000 = 1 x 103 7354 = 7.354 x 103
100 = 1 x 102 482 = 4.82 x 102
10 = 1 x 101 89 = 8.9 x 101 (not usually done)
1 = 100
1/10 = 0.1 = 1 x 101 0.32 = 3.2 x 101 (not usually done)
1/100 = 0.01 = 1 x 102 0.053 = 5.3 x 102
1/1000 = 0.001 = 1 x 103 0.0078 = 7.8 x 103
1/10000 = 0.0001 = 1 x 104 0.00044 = 4.4 x 104

As you can see, the exponent of 10 is the number of places the decimal point must be shifted to give the number in long form. A positive exponent shows that the decimal point is shifted that number of places to the right. A negative exponent shows that the decimal point is shifted that number of places to the left.

 

SI Prefixes


Symbol Prefix 10n Short scale Decimal equivalent in SI writing style
Y yotta 1024 Septillion 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000
Z zetta 1021 Sextillion 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000
E exa 1018 Quintillion 1 000 000 000 000 000 000
P peta 1015 Quadrillion 1 000 000 000 000 000
T tera 1012 Trillion 1 000 000 000 000
G giga 109 Billion 1 000 000 000
M mega 106 Million 1 000 000
k kilo 103 Thousand 1 000
h hecto 102 Hundred 100
da deca, deka 101 Ten 10
(none) (none) 100 One 1
d deci 10−1 Tenth 0.1
c centi 10−2 Hundredth 0.01
m milli 10−3 Thousandth 0.001
µ (u) micro 10−6 Millionth 0.000 001
n nano 10−9 Billionth 0.000 000 001
p pico 10−12 Trillionth 0.000 000 000 001
f femto 10−15 Quadrillionth 0.000 000 000 000 001
a atto 10−18 Quintillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 001
z zepto 10−21 Sextillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001
y yocto 10−24 Septillionth 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001

 

Chemical Symbols listed Alphabetically


Symbol Element
Ac Actinium
Ag Silver
Al Aluminum
Am Americium
Ar Argon
As Arsenic
At Astatine
Au Gold
B Boron
Ba Barium
Be Beryllium
Bh Bohrium
Bi Bismuth
Bk Berkelium
Br Bromine
C Carbon
Ca Calcium
Cd Cadmium
Ce Cerium
Cf Californium
Cl Chlorine
Cm Curium
Co Cobalt
Cr Chromium
Cs Cesium
Cu Copper
Db Dubnium
Ds Darmstadtium
Dy Dysprosium
Er Erbium
Es Einsteinium
Eu Europium
F Fluorine
Fe Iron
Fm Fermium
Fr Francium
Ga Gallium
Gd Gadolinium
Ge Germanium
H Hydrogen
He Helium
Hf Hafnium
Hg Mercury
Ho Holmium
Hs Hassium
I Iodine
In Indium
Ir Iridium
K Potassium
Kr Krypton
La Lanthanum
Li Lithium
Lr Lawrencium
Lu Lutetium
Md Mendelevium
Mg Magnesium
Mn Manganese
Mo Molybdenum
Mt Meitnerium
N Nitrogen
Na Sodium
Ne Neon
Nb Niobium
Nd Neodymium
Ni Nickel
No Nobelium
Np Neptunium
O Oxygen
Os Osmium
P Phosphorus
Pd Palladium
Po Polonium
Pb Lead
Pt Platinum
Pr Praseodymium
Pm Promethium
Pu Plutonium
Pa Protactinium
Ra Radium
Rb Rubidium
Re Rhenium
Rf Rutherfordium
Rh Rhodium
Rn Radon
Ru Ruthenium
S Sulfur
Sb Antimony
Sc Scandium
Se Selenium
Sg Seaborgium
Si Silicon
Sm Samarium
Sn Tin
Sr Strontium
Ta Tantalum
Tb Terbium
Tc Technetium
Te Tellurium
Th Thorium
Ti Titanium
Tl Thallium
Tm Thulium
U Uranium
Uub Ununbium
Uun Ununnilium
Uuu Ununumium
V Vanadium
W Tungsten
Xe Xenon
Y Yttrium
Yb Ytterbium
Zn Zinc
Zr Zirconium