What is exact definition of significant figures????

Asked by Jayant | 16th Apr, 2013, 03:29: PM

Expert Answer:

The number of significant figures in a measurement, such as 2.531, is equal to the number of digits that are known with some degree of confidence (2, 5, and 3) plus the last digit (1), which is an estimate or approximation. 
Significant figures are critical when reporting scientific data because they give the reader an idea of how well you could actually measure/report your data. Before looking at a few examples, let's summarize the rules for significant figures.


    1) ALL non-zero numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) are ALWAYS significant.
    2) ALL zeroes between non-zero numbers are ALWAYS significant.
    3) ALL zeroes which are SIMULTANEOUSLY to the right of the decimal point AND at the end of the number are ALWAYS significant.
    4) ALL zeroes which are to the left of a written decimal point and are in a number >= 10 are ALWAYS significant.

Answered by  | 16th Apr, 2013, 03:44: PM

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