Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsMathematics · 1 decade ago

Scientific Figures..? ?

I was wondering if you could explain to me about how to figure out Scientific Figures. I have a tset tommorrow and my teacher did a really bad explaination of it.

Thank You (:

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Well, you've got two different terms combined here.

    There's scientific notation:

    Given:

    1,500,000

    In scientific notation:

    1.5 x 10^6

    To convert a number from "normal" notation to scientific notation, move the decimal to the right of the left most non-zero digit. If to do this you moved to the left, the exponent on x 10 (times 10) is positive and equivalent to the number of spaces you moved the decimal. If to do this you moved to the right, the exponent on x 10 is negative and equivalent to the number of spaces you moved the decimal.

    Significant figures:

    When adding or subtracting:

    10.79 + 1.983 = 12.773, but you only have 2 significant figures after the decimal, so the answer rounds to 12.77.

    You use the smaller number of decimal places.

    10.79 - 1.983 = 8.807, must be rounded to 2 decimal places, so, 8.81

    When multiplying or dividing:

    1.2 x 3.983 = 4.7796

    1.2 has 2 significant figures

    3.983 has 4 significant figure

    Use the fewer number of sig figs in your answer

    Answer becomes: 4.8 (4.7796 rounded to 2 sig figs)

    1.200 has 4 sig figs

    3.983 has 4 sig figs

    1.200 x 3.983 = 4.7796 Rounded to 4 sig figs = 4.780

    3.995 divided by .500

    3.995 has 4 sig figs

    .500 has 3 sig figs

    answer will have 3 sig figs

    Answer: 7.99

    10 has 1 sig fig

    10. has 2 sig figs

    10.0 has 3 sig figs

    .1 has 1 sig fig

    .10 has 2 sig figs

    .1000000 has 7 sig figs

    Placement of the decimal point and zeros plays a big roll in determining the number of significant figures.

    10 without a decimal point only has 1 sig fig, the zero is simply a place holder.

    Adding the decimal point makes the zero have meaning. It means the accuracy is know to the ones column.

    Here are some good online lessons:

    Scientific Notation:

    http://www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/textbook/scinot.h...

    Significant Figures:

    http://www.chem.sc.edu/faculty/morgan/resources/si...

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