Significant figures and scientific notation
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Significant Figures and Scientific Notation. Precision in measurement. Significant Figures. The n umber of digits that have meaning to precision of data Rules 1. All non-zero numbers ARE significant. The number 33.2 has THREE significant figures

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Significant figures
Significant Figures

  • The number of digits that have meaning to precision of data

  • Rules

    • 1. All non-zero numbers ARE significant. The number 33.2 has THREE significant figures

    • 2. Zeros between two non-zero digits ARE significant. 2051 has FOUR significant figures. The zero is between a 2 and a 5.


  • 3. Leading zeros are NOT significant. They're nothing more than "place holders." The number 0.54 has only TWO significant figures. 0.0032 also has TWO significant figures.

  • 4. Trailing zeros to the right of the decimal ARE significant. There are FOUR significant figures in 92.00.


  • 5. Trailing zeros in a whole number with the decimal shown ARE significant. For example, "540." indicates that the trailing zero IS significant; there are THREE significant figures in this value.

  • 6. Trailing zeros in a whole number with no decimal shown are NOT significant. Writing just "540" indicates that the zero is NOT significant


For example
For Example…

  • 123,000,000 has 3 significant figures.

    • Trailing 0’s are not significant.

  • 123,000,100 has 7 significant figures.

    • 0’s stuck in between other digits are significant.

  • 0.003604 has 4 significant figures.


Scientific notation
Scientific Notation

  • Method of abbreviating very large or very small numbers.

    • Based on powers of 10.

  • 123,000,000 is expressed as 1.23 x 108

    • This is because 108 would move the decimal 8 spots to the right.


Scientific notation1
Scientific Notation

  • 123,000,100 is expressed as 1.23001 x 108

  • 0.003604 is expressed as 3.604 x 10-3

    • This is because 10-3 would move the decimal place 3 spaces to the left.


  • Adding and Subtracting numbers in scientific notation.

    • Numbers should be rearranged such that exponents are the same.

  • Multiplying and Dividing numbers in scientific notation

    • Numbers following exponent rules.

      • Multiplying  Add exponents

      • Dividing  Subtract exponents




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