# What Does Exponent Mean?

Exponent notation is a short-hand for multiplying a number by itself some number of times. For example, 102 is the same as 10 x 10. Here are a few more examples...

53 = 5 x 5 x 5 = 125

28 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 256

The small, raised value in the notation is called the exponent. For 53, the value 3 is the exponent.

Exponential values where the base value is multiplied twice (32, 52, 432, etc.) are called "squares."  Exponential values where the base value is multiplied three times(33, 53, 433, etc.) are called "cubes."

Scientific notation is often used as a way to express really large or small numbers by using powers of 10 using exponential notation. For example...

108 = 100,000,000  (that is to say, a 1 followed by eight zeros)

1012 = 1,000,000,000,000  (that is to say, a 1 followed by twelve zeros)

It is common to include a multiplier to express values in scientific notation...

6.023 x 1023 = 60,230,000,000,000,000,000,000 (Avagadro's number)

3.0 x 108 = 300,000,000 (common approximation of speed of light in a vacuum in m/s)