math

posted by .

I always thought I understood significant figures...until I attempted to tutor someone. Some of the rules seem counterintuitive. For instance...
10.070 why is it 5 sig fig's? the "0" on the right is useless. without it the # holds the same value.
20 Why is it only "1" sig fig? the "zero" is the difference between two and twenty. seems pretty sig to me.
0.01234 has "4" sig fig's. why isn't the zero to the right of the decimal sig? without it, the # doesn't hold the same value...can someone please explain the concept that I'm missing??

  • math -

    <<10.070 why is it 5 sig fig's? the "0" on the right is useless.>>
    The fact that the zero is there beyond the decimal point means that it IS a significant figure.

    <<20.: Why is it only "1" sig fig? the "zero" is the difference between two and twenty.>>
    I agree. With a decimal point after the 20, it should be clear that the number is closer to 20 than 19 or 21. Therefore there are two sig figs. However, if they had just written 20 without a decimal point, then that would be one significant figure. For example: 2000 with no decimal has only one sig fig. also.

    <<0.01234 has "4" sig fig's. why isn't the zero to the right of the decimal sig?>>
    Until you get a nonzero number on the left side, none of the figures are significant in terms of precision; they just establish the order of magnitude. Think of writing it as 1.234*10^-2. The exponent -2. does not establish the precision, only the 1.234 does.

Respond to this Question

First Name
School Subject
Your Answer

Similar Questions

  1. Physics Sig Figs

    When you are multiplying two numbers, how do you determine the number of significant figures?
  2. Chemistry

    How does Significant Figures work? If i had a number: 1,007,000 is that with 4 sig figs or 7 sig figs?
  3. Chemistry

    Hi, please can someone tell me if this is the right number of significant figures. 8.1 x 10 to the power of -3 would have 2 sig fig 910 would have 3 175.0 would have 3 please can some tell me if I've got this right Also how would I …
  4. math/chem significant figures

    Which of the answers for the following conversions contains the correct number of significant figures?
  5. Physics

    Talking about significant figures, my Physics textbook lists 5 rules for determining significant figures. 1) All nonzero digits are significant. 2) Zeros to the right of nonzero digits in a number containing a decimal point are significant. …
  6. SIG FIGS

    How many significant figures does 22.0, 0.22, 22. , 0.022?
  7. Chemistry

    What should be the number of significant figures in the following calculation?
  8. Significant Figures

    The problem is 150 - 1 - 0.182 Since the least sig. fig. is 1 would the answer be 1 x 10^3 ?
  9. Chemistry

    The density of water is 1gm/cm^3. Use the density and these dimensions to find the mass of the water in grams in a fish tank. Use the rules of significant figures and rounding to come up with the correct answer. 30 cm width * .075 …
  10. Physics

    I'm having Sig fig troubles. What would 0.98*2040 be using Sig fig rules?

More Similar Questions