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Significant figures

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Significant figures

- Importance: to ensure the accuracy of our measurements
- To make sure we tell others only what we actually know based on our equipment and it’s limitations

- Significant figures: all the numbers actually measured plus one that is estimated

- Non zeros are always significant:
- 1.23456 has 6 sig figs

- Zeros within a number are always significant. Both 4308 and 40.05 contain four significant figures.
- Zeros that do nothing but set the decimal point are not significant.
- 470,000 has 2 significant figures.
- 0.00000000098 has 2 sig figs

- Trailing zeros that aren't needed to hold the decimal point are significant.
- 4.00 has 3 significant figures.
- 0.0000050 has 2 significant figures

- The number of decimal places in the answer is equal to the number of decimal places in the quantity with the smallest number of decimal places
- 1 . 2 3 + 4 . 5 6 7 = 5 . 8 0

- The LEAST number of significant figures in any number of the problem determines the number of significant figures in the answer.
- 2 x 10.0 = 20
- 66 / 2 = 33 = 30