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What Is Scientific Calculator?

Scientific calculator is designed for scientific and engineering calculations of varying degrees of complexity. Such calculators are made for scientists, engineers, engineering students, and high school students.

Scientific calculator works with the representation of numbers in the format with both natural and floating point. Many modern models of calculators also allow you to directly operate with common fractions, including various operations you can perform with them, like transforming ordinary right fractions into wrong fractions and back, as well as modifying common fractions to decimals and vice versa.

Scientific calculator implements algebraic logic with the priorities of operations and parentheses; rarely the RPN is used. It also supports calculations of elementary functions. The common minimum of a scientific calculator includes the following: the square and the square root, the inverse function, decimal and natural logarithms and antilogarithms, direct and inverse trigonometric functions.

Developed models of calculators implement a wider range of basic functions, including support of the statistical calculations, modifications of measures from one system to another, conversion of angles from the system to minutes, degrees, alteration of seconds to decimal degrees and vice versa again, logic functions, work in different number systems, trigonometric calculations with angles in degrees, radians, and grads. The total number of supported features on a scientific calculator can be up to several hundred.

The number of additional memory registers is no less than one, but it can be up to ten or more. Due to the large number of supported functions, the keyboard of a scientific calculator includes keys of double / triple purpose. In some models, a single button can be assigned up to four functions. The most advanced models support not only numerical but also symbolic computations.

How to Use a Scientific Calculator in Algebra?

Scientific calculator performs higher mathematical functions, making it useful for students studying algebra, trigonometry, and other advanced classes in mathematics. The following steps explain how to select and use a scientific calculator for algebra in more advanced math classes.

The calculators can be of various types:

  • Calculator with numeric display.
    This is the basic level of a scientific calculator, as well as the most inexpensive one. In older versions, the light-emitting diodes (LED) are used to display the numbers, but most calculators are now using a liquid crystal display (LCD). This type of calculator is good for application at most high school algebra courses and trigonometry, as well as entry-level algebra and trigonometry in college.
  • Graphic Calculator.
    This device has a large LCD panel for showing the results on the grid. They are useful for displaying functions such as y = ax + b. These calculators are more expensive than a calculator with a digital display, and are better suited for higher math classes that are part of the College of Engineering curriculum.
  • Programmable calculator.
    This calculator is designed to help with complex equations, which include a lot of repetitive steps. This type of calculator is used in the work of scientists and engineers, and is better suited for those who are studying these disciplines. This is the most expensive calculator and it is very difficult to learn how to work on it effectively. One of the forms of a programmable calculator is a computer algebra system (CAS).

After picking the right calculator for yourself, learn how you can enter the equation into a scientific calculator. There are also several ways to enter data into a calculator:

  • Algebraic brackets of notation.
    This type of calculator follows the rules of algebra for the order of operations when entering equations in it: the elements in parentheses, brackets or braces; then indicators (exponentiation), multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.
  • An improved system of direct input of algebraic logic.
    This format is proprietary of scientific calculators made by Sharp. This allows users to enter the elements of the equation in the same order as they are in the textbook.
  • Reverse Polish Notation.
    Reverse Polish Notation is commonly found in a scientific calculator made by Hewlett-Packard. The values of the equations are entered in Reverse Polish Notation. This type of calculator replaces «+» with the «Enter» button, and also has a special two-lined display. Many programmable calculators use Reverse Polish Notation.

Learn how to turn on and turn off a calculator. Some scientific calculators have a separate on/off button, while others have integrated on/off in the «AC» button. Solar calculators are switched off automatically after a certain period of time.

Pay attention on the keys for deleting the values. In standard calculators and scientific calculators you can use «C» to delete the current record from the screen and the «AC» to clear the entire calculation, and «CE» to delete only the current record.

Scientific Calculator with Memory

In some calculators, there is a memory function, which allows you to store numbers for later use in the calculation. This can be used to store the results of the partial computing or long numbers that can be used more than once. Calculators with memory may have one or more memory cells.

Memory keys can be marked «STO» or «RCL». Some calculators have «M +» key, so that you can add to the value in memory and the key «M –», so that you can deduct from the value.

It is also recommended to learn about other function keys of a calculator. In scientific calculator, there are other function keys that are not in the standard calculator. On some of them you can perform various functions with the same key.

The exponent function on a calculator allows you to do exponentiations. The main exponent key is usually marked with «x», followed by «y» index.

The root for the calculation of functions, the «SQRT» key allows you to do operations with square-rooting. Some calculators offer a key to retrieve the other numeric roots, they are designated with the root showing «Y» in square. Other calculators allow you to extract the root with a fractional exponent.

Exponential function allows you to enter a number in exponential (scientific) notation format, which begins with a decimal number from 1 to 9.999, followed by the letter «E», and an integer representing the rate that you enter. The key for this function can marked as «EXP», «EE», or «ENG».

Scientific calculators can also compute the logarithmic functions with the base of 10 or natural logarithms of the displayed number. The key for the base 10 logarithm is called «lg», while the natural logarithm key is marked «ln».

Mutual function is usually marked as «1/x» and is the same as «x» with «-1» index.

The Pi Key represents the value of pi, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of its length. Pressing the key displays the value of pi.

Most of scientific calculators have keys for the most common trigonometric functions: sine («sin»), cosine («cos»), and the tangent («Tan»). Some calculators also feature buttons for features such as the hyperbolic equivalents: «sinh», «cosh», and «tanh».

Controlling buttons rad/deg allows you to convert the angle in trigonometry from degrees to radians and vice versa, when it is needed. (Radian is a little more than 57 degrees).

When choosing a scientific calculator, figure out what calculations you will need it for. You must choose a calculator that will be useful to you in math class.

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