From: Mike Ayers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Feb 15 2006 - 20:00:16 CST
Kit Peters wrote:
> By exponential, I mean something like (e.g) 2^3 (2 to the power of 3).
> By scientific, I mean (e.g.) 3.08E23 (3.08 times ten to the power of 23).
> Are either of these notations a purely Western thing? If not, how is it
> done in other languages?
"2^3" isn't even a "western thing" (perhaps "western thang"), so much
as a workaround for having only ASCII to rely on. I believe this usage
first appeared in programming languages, and folk just borrowed the
notation rather than compose the needed ASCII art:
Pre-ASCII languages, such as FORTRAN, use the notation "2**3", and I
vaguely recall other notations as well.
I couldn't find confirmation, but I recall the "E" notation as being an
SI standard, which would make it universal. Having forgotten what "SI"
stands for (systeme international? My French is nonexistent...), I am
unable to check.
For those of you keeping score, that's "not even for English" for "^"
and "maybe universal" for "E".
Sorry I can't do better,
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