Talk:Order of magnitude

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"1 E* J" series and others...[edit]

Interested parties should see the List of energies in joules, which I just created before coming across this (these) page(s). (See also Talk:List of energies in joules.) I should have followed the "Orders of magnitude" link first! Anyway, the information there should probably be refactored into Orders of magnitude (energy). There are also collections of pages for length, area, volume, time, etc., as pointed out in earlier discussions. In my opinion, all of these should be redirected to the relevant "Order" pages to avoid future confusion and duplication of effort. - dcljr 09:02, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I prefer the collections (or "chains") of pages 1 E6 m, 1 E7 m, etc. That is how this area of WP began originally. The "Orders of magnitude (foo)" pages began as either an overview or a botched attempt at simplifying the main "Orders of magnitude" page. I would suggest we look into restoring the "chain" pages, a number of which have been turned into redirects. -- Tarquin 12:06, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Is it a question of one or the other? Some of these lists would be best split up chain-like, others might be a little too thin for this. Moreover I'd like to see these chains have larger links—thousands rather than tens would probably be better. In fact, some parts of a chain could be bigger, and other parts smaller (I'd suggest, 10, 1000 or 106n for interger, n). Further, it would be nice if they could have titles written in English rather than some kind of computer code (see Talk:1 E-3 s#Title). Jɪmp 07:03, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Contradictory section "Working Out the Orders of Magnitude"[edit]

This oddly worded section (which I boldly deleted) gave the order of magnitude of 340 as 3. This contradicts the earlier "take the log and truncate" method which would give trunc(2.53) or 2. Thoughts on this? Restore it if you liked it (and don't tell me please). Caltrop 01:19, 16 March 2007 (UTC)


Orders of magnitude of torque? I could use that. --Remi0o 09:25, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Text taken from another source[edit]

It looks like some of the text in this article was taken from another source, which had chapters. There's an unchanged reference to "the first chapter" in the Non-decimal orders of magnitude section.


How about the order of magnitude for radiation? Magniloquent 23:55, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Fixed! (only 3 years late!) SteveBaker (talk) 19:10, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Order of magnitude??[edit]

In Computer Science the order of magnitude often refers to powers of 2 or more commonly powers of n where n is any integer. I my humble opinion this entire article needs the help of someone who understands number theory. -- (talk) 00:55, 9 February 2008 (UTC) Sorry, I wasn't logged in. --DRoll (talk) 00:57, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Order of magnitude of zero[edit]

Such a dumb question but ...

so it would seem to me that the order of magnitude of zero would generally be taken as undefined. Am I right? Is it considered to be −∞? Surely the order of magnitude of zero is not zero ... right? JIMp talk·cont 23:40, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

You are correct. Orders of magnitude are associated with positive numbers. Xihr (talk) 03:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
So, like zero isn't a positive number? Is it negative? (talk) 00:26, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
0 is neither positive nor negative. --Jhertel (talk) 08:47, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
You're wrong. . Actually CountMacula (talk) 19:04, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
He meant — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:35, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Between two stools[edit]

This page is terrible. It seems like it is trying to find a common ground between readers with little or no mathematical background and someone with a modicum of understanding of the language of mathematics. It needs to decide which class of reader it is aimed at. My preference would be someone who does not have a mathematical background. With that in mind the first two paragraphs could be much better summarised as something like: ``Most commonly, when two quantities are compared as having an order-of-magnitude difference, it is taken to mean that the two quantities involved differ by a factor of about ten. Logarithmic scales and questions of which base is most likely being invoked by the qualifier "order-of-magnitude" can be introduced, but the page should try to introduce such concepts in a logical way.

As it is this page has no cohesion, doesn't know who its target audience is, and (to agree with another comment here) has sections that seem to be lifted verbatim from other sources without any consideration of the expository nature of this medium. If the author wishes merely to regurgitate what he has learned from other sources, he should at least make some effort to present that in a way that will be clear to those who do not have the appropriate textbooks to hand, and whose motivation in looking up this page is to expand their knowledge rather than merely read a poorly-constructed precis of someone's course notes. (talk) 00:51, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Actually, I find it quite appropriate that it addresses the concept in simple terms in places for the broadest audience, and then fills in with a little more detail for those who remember their high school mathematics for others. -- Ithacagorges 22:45, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Octillion, not "Gazillion"[edit]

I believe the correct number for 10^27 is octillion, not gazillion. I'll let someone else fill in the details. -- Ithacagorges 03:05, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Yeah - we have someone trying to be funny here...we call them "vandals". SteveBaker (talk) 14:40, 19 January 2011 (UTC)


I have removed redlinks from the associated template Template:Orders of magnitude wide, listed here to encourage someone to start them:

This makes the template more consistent with its tall version, they can be re-added when the articles exist. -84user (talk) 19:04, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

New necessary links or articles!!!![edit]

I propose the following orders of magnitude (I'm naming them after the measuring unit not after what they measure because I am not sure what they measure but if someone gives them their proper name these measurements should have links to them, indeed every measurement must have a link to the "orders of magnitude" link that corresponds to it) I would do these myself if I knew how to do them...

No, I don't fact, I disagree on every single one of those!
The trouble is that all of these light-related ones are going to have very similar content...the examples for lumens, lumen seconds and lumen second per meter cubed will all contain fireflies and stars and all of that stuff. People are already very confused by all of these distinctions in the measurement of light. If we're going to do anything, it should be to extend the existing "luminous flux" article by adding more tables to encompass the idea of continuous sources of energy versus pulsed or burst sources - and to distinguish directional sources (like lasers and pulsars) versus omnidirectional (like fireflies and stars). That would reduce the set of eight confusingly similar articles that you propose into three concise tables within a single article - where the distinctions between what is being measured may be explained.
We don't need Orders of magnitude (watts) (except perhaps as a redirect) because we already have Orders of magnitude (power). Also, Orders of magnitude (hertz) is just Orders of magnitude (frequency) and Orders of magnitude (bits) is just Orders of magnitude (data).
The point being that we don't make [[Orders of magnitude (<some SI unit>)]] - we have [[Orders of magnitude (<some physical property>)]]. You could argue for some redirects from the SI unit names to the property page - but I really don't want to have two different pages with (for example) Orders of magnitude (temperature) in Celsius and Fahrenheit - and we certainly don't want articles about weight for pounds, ounces, grains, short and long tons, tonnes, kilograms, grams and so forth! Maintaining all of those additional pages would be a nightmare.
So to keep it simple - we have one page per fundamental property (which we already have for every one of your examples) - and consider here the question of whether having redirects from similarly named pages with SI units would make sense. That is not the simple question you might think it would be because (for example) Orders of magnitude (hertz) could redirect to either Orders of magnitude (computing) or Orders of magnitude (frequency) or even Orders of magnitude (radiation) since all three can be measured in hertz. (the 'becquerel' is just 'hertz as applied to radiation particle counts')
Furthermore, with your proposal, wouldn't we also need articles for incomprehensible properties like Orders of magnitude (meters cubed per second per watt) - which I would call Orders of magnitude (pumping efficiency)? The units that are used to measure the property are not really what we're talking about here. Our articles are about the orders of magnitude of real-world phenomena - they are only incidentally related to particular units of measurement.
Hence, I strongly disagree with your proposal to create a bunch of new articles because none of them are needed. I'm nervous about creating redirects for them instead - although I could perhaps be persuaded.
SteveBaker (talk) 13:21, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I found some suggestions by User:Mynameisnoted:
Electron9 (talk) 00:17, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't like "surface tension" - "surface energy density" might be a better choice - but it's pretty obscure. But the others look reasonable. SteveBaker (talk) 16:07, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I added the new capacitance article into both of the orders-of-magnitude templates. SteveBaker (talk) 14:22, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree, we need momentum; angular momentum; luminous intensity.--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 20:34, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

"of the order of" vs. "on the order of"[edit]

I've never heard "of the order of"; I've always heard "on the order of". Is this a regional or historical difference? (I'm in U.S.) A web search of "of the order of" returns mostly results like "...of the Order of Bath". Thrmlbrk (talk) 20:48, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

An order of magnitude is the magnitude[edit]

This article is a total mess. The very first sentence uses "magnitude" in the definition of "order of magnitude". I found where this article's definition came from, from Wiktionary which now lowers my estimation of Wiktionary by...uh...2 orders of magnitude".

Here is a great definition from the [Note: its first def concerns order like *on the order of a kilometer*, see Thrmlbrk above] "a number assigned to the ratio of two quantities; two quantities are of the same order of magnitude if one is less than 10 times as large as the other; the number of magnitudes that the quantities differ is specified to within a power of 10" .... right! it's a comparative term.

All of the garbage that follows in this article is an attempt to place some kind of mathematical or technical meaning on a nebulous language concept "order of magnitude". It can't be done. Here's my go at it: An order of magnitude is 10X. Three orders of magnitude is 1000X. Since OoM is simply a phrase meaning "ten times" it has no positive or negative connotation therefore it must be succeeded by a comparative modifier such as bigger, smaller, longer, shorter, etc. Dangnad (talk) 19:59, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

I am adding to my criticism two years later. The original sentence using a word to define a word has been removed and replaced by a definition that is entirely wrong: "Orders of magnitude are written in powers of 10. For example, the order of magnitude of 1500 is 3, since 1500 may be written as 1.5 × 10^3." An OoM is NOT written as a power of ten and there is no such thing as an order of magnitude of 1500. The phrase "order of magnitude" is a comparative term thus it can't be written as a power of ten. OoMs are written as follows. "An order of magnitude [comparative term]", "two orders of magnitude [comparative term]", etc. If something is 10^2 times larger than something else it is written "something(2) is two orders of magnitude larger than something(1)". Likewise for 10^-2, "s(2) is two OsoM smaller than s(1)". The author of this article is trying to make a largely meaningless phrase into something it is not. "Order of magnitude" is a geek phrase. Dangnad (talk) 21:04, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Inconsistent SI scale standard (IMPORTANT Reminder to SI double-standard)[edit]


Kilo [K], not kilo [k]. (e.g: Km = Kilometer)

Hecto [H], not hecto [h]. (e.g: Ha = Hectoare)

Deka/Deca [D], not deka/deca [da]. (e.g: Dg = Dekagram/Decagram)

You don't need such "ONLY ONE" inconsistent 2-letter symbol here ("da" for "Deka") while all other SI magnitude scale symbols use solely and only 1-letter symbols! Be consistent with your own standard, SI!

The SI was defined scale symbols above base reference (10^0 = 1) must be capitalized and below must be lower-cased, this measure was done to avoid misinterpretation between its own 1-letter scale symbols. We can see the traces for all MAJOR/UP scale symbols following the 'old' rule with capitalized letters such as [G]iga/[M]ega/[T]era/[P]eta, etc (very useful to differentiate with other MINOR/DOWN scale symbols that uses lowercased 1-letter symbols such as "[p]ico" from "[P]eta" for example). So, why on earth SI beginning to use lowercase-letter symbols for those three MAJOR magnitude scales that violates its own standard?

Si should define and prioritize the magnitude scale symbols FIRST, since this one uses 1-letter symbols and conflicts are greater in this scope/region. For example, how one can tell that "1 K" means "1 Kilo" instead of "1 Kelvin", if both have the same 1-letter symbol and capital case?


Kelvin as temperature unit can be symbol-defined with more than 1-letter symbol as: "Kn" (just like "Pa" for "Pascal" and "Wb" for "Weber" - so, why is it not also valid for Kelvin?), "Kelv", "Kvn"/"Klv", or simply reverting to old standard to prefix temperature unit with degree symbol (°K). Even I can propose to use lowercased "k" for Kelvin, I prefer to reserve it for future MINOR/DOWN magnitude scale of SI standard, just in case the magnitude scale order is widened/enlarged and necessary.

Other SI symbols conflicting with these 1-letter magnitude scale symbols should be replaced with non-conflicting ones, using more than 1-letter symbol is recommended if conflicts always exist when searching/using 1-letter symbols just like my Kelvin symbol replacement proposal here.

Prioritize your SI magnitude scale symbols FIRST, then other non-MagnitudeScale symbols - then you will be confused much less by your own double standards, since scale symbols can always be paired with other non-scale unit symbols that may added more confusion if the magnitude scale symbols group (that uses 1-letter symbols, as strictly as possible as an excellent magnitude scale standard) is not strictly predefined FIRST in the 1st place.

==> [Ois1974 @ 2013-12-21 Sat] (talk) 07:38, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

For what it's worth: Since this user insisted on restoring this same message at Talk:International System of Units after it was removed, I've now attempted to communicate with this user at User talk: --Closeapple (talk) 20:10, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Unit and prefix symbols are officially standardized. Prefix symbols less than or equal to 103 (kilo-, k-) are lowercase, while bigger prefixes are capitalized (only the symbols, not the names; hence megawatt, gigawatt etc. are not capitalized). A number of unit symbols are the same as a prefix symbol; m can mean meter or milli-; G can mean gauss or giga-; T can mean tesla or tera-. However, prefix symbols are normally used only in combination with root unit names, so it is understood whether a unit or a prefix is meant. Capital K is sometimes used informally to mean thousand, but it is understood from context whether thousand or kelvin is meant.--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 20:45, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Dubious quote[edit]

I cut this quote since the definition it provides is dubious:

We say two numbers have the same order of magnitude of a number if the big one divided by the little one is less than 10. For example, 23 and 82 have the same order of magnitude, but 23 and 820 do not.

But e.g. 1 and 9 are not of the same order of magnitude. Baez has ignore the element of rounding. 9/1 = 9 which is of the order of magnitude of 10, not 1. So instead, I suggest the rule should be that the ratio should be < the square root of 10, i.e. 10^0.5. Elsewhere in the article it suggests the ratio should be between 0.5 and 5, but no citation is given and that seems to ignore the use of the log scale. Ben Finn (talk) 10:28, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Yes, exactly. I see that comment which I just posted echoes yours. (talk) 18:39, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedian invention[edit]

This article suffers from a problem that afflicts many minor articles on Wikipedia. It is founded on a definition that exists only on Wikipedia, a definition that was crafted by a Wikipedian editor/author but is not sourced --and therefore a break with the fundamental principle of Wikipedia. In particular, the article claims that we need to work out the order of magnitude of a number by expressing it as a*10^b and further that 0.5<a<=5. This does not represent common understanding of the concept. Rather it represents some editor's attempt to formalize a definition. It is also mathematically inconsistent. If an order of magnitude is accepted as being a power of ten, then half an order of magnitude is 10^0.5 (the square root of 10, roughly 3.16). In order of magnitude terms, 400 is closer to 10^3 than it is to 10^2 (since 400 is approximately 10^2.60). Hence this attempted definition, placing the dividing line for orders of magnitude at 0.5 or 5, is not just unsourced, it is also arguably mathematically incorrect. (talk) 18:38, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ John Baez, 28 November 2012