**Archimedes developed the concept behind scientific notation, and Rene Descartes developed the system in which modern mathematicians represent numbers using this system.** The benefit of scientific notation is that it allows scientists to manipulate extremely large, and small, numbers without having to deal with extremes in place value, explains Arithmetic.

In ancient Greece, the capital letter M referred to the number 10,000, and Archimedes developed a system of writing lower case Greek letters over the M to denote multiples of 10,000, states Arithmetic. Rene Descartes, working centuries later, developed the superscript method for notating exponents, allowing for the modern use of scientific notation, notes The Story of Mathematics.