Essay1 - When making scientific measurements, one always...

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When making scientific measurements, one always wants to have the most accurate and precise information possible. However, due to the limitations of current technology and human error however, this is very hard to achieve and as a result, we turn to significant figures. By rounding a number, a certain amount of data is lost, which causes the final number to have a level of uncertainty as to how precise it is. In most figures, the number on the far right is considered to be less certain than those preceding it on the left. Overall, these digits are called significant figures which are numbers that give us a fair idea of how good our data is. The more significant figures there are in a given measurement, the less uncertainty there is to whether the information is accurate. Given these facts, it is always better to have more significant figures in a piece of data because even the slightest estimation in a number can destroy vital information which in turn may have substantial repercussions in the long run. However, it is not realistic to report every single significant number in a math problem, which is why in many occasions we are forced to round off based on the least certain piece of data. Determining which numbers in a numerical value is actually significant may sound like a complicated procedure but it is actually very simple. The first rule is that all non-zero numbers are significant and all zeroes between them are significant. This makes finding non-significant figures much easier because you can tell right away that it is the zeroes that you must pay close attention to. All leading zeroes before non-zero digits are not significant. Trailing zeroes
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This note was uploaded on 11/03/2010 for the course CHEM V25 taught by Professor Miller during the Fall '08 term at NYU.

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Essay1 - When making scientific measurements, one always...

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