Counting Significant Digits Notes

  • Counting Significant Digits (in someone else's measurement)

    In order to present results with the proper precision, we need to know how many significant figures are present in each number we use in a calculation. There are four basic rules:

    1. Zeroes in the beginning of a number never count.
    2. Zeroes at the end of a number count only if there is a written decimal point.
    3. The digits 1 - 9 always count.
    4. Zeroes between the digits 1 - 9 always count.

     

    Examples:  How many significant digits are present in the following numbers?   5, 51, 55, 510, 501, 5010, 5010.0, 5.0, 0.00501
    (the answers are 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 2, 3)
    .

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