RE: Mathematical and Scientific Standards

Subject: RE: Mathematical and Scientific Standards
From: "Andrew Warren" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: <Marsha -dot- Kamish -at- shell -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 15:43:20 -0800

Marsha -dot- Kamish -at- shell -dot- com wrote:

> Do any of you know where I can get a list of how to write or
> things like the word 'million?' I've seen it mm and MM and mln. Is
> there any standard documented?


The only way to avoid ambiguity is to write large and small numbers as
the numeral 10 raised to some power (e.g., one million would be written
as 10 raised to the sixth power). This is particularly important for
numbers larger than what Americans call a billion, since "billion" has a
different meaning in some countries.

If you can format your text with superscripts, it's easy to show numbers
with exponents. If you can't, the convention -- which you could explain
in some corner of your document if necessary-- is to use a lowercase "e"
to mean "exponent":

one million = 10e6
two million = 2 x 10e6

As an aside, the three variations you showed are all TERRIBLE ideas:
"mm" is the abbreviation for millimeters, "MM" is a gross misuse of
Roman numerals, and "mln" looks an awful lot like "min" for "minimum" or
"minutes". Lots of room for confusion if you use any of those.


=== Andrew Warren - awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com
=== Synaptics, Inc - Santa Clara, CA

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