Never confuse education with intelligence, you can have a PhD and still be an idiot.
- Richard Feynman -

Numbers - how to write them

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We get quite a lot of questions from students regarding various prefixes like mega, giga, etc. What do they stand for? What symbol should we use?

It's rather easy to make mistakes with the symbols for the prefixes (and I'm sure you can find tons of such mistakes here on the wiki). But if you really want to know, we'll list a few here (and this time we'll be careful to make it right).

The SI system uses a lot of prefixes for unit quantities, and we'll present a few of them here:

What can go wrong if you write numbers the wrong way?


Name Symbol Base 10 As a number Short scale name
peta P  1015 1 000 000 000 000 000  quadrillion
tera T  1012 1 000 000 000 000  trillion
giga G  109 1 000 000 000  billion
mega M  106 1 000 000  million
kilo k 103 1 000  thousand
hecto h 102 100  hundred
deca da 101 10  ten