Significant Figures General Chemistry I and II Lab Manual Dakota State University page 229 of 232 Significant FiguresPossibly one of the most confusing subject for students is the concept of “significant figures.” One reason that this is so might be that students tend to not understand why significant figures are, well, significant. The reason is simply this; it is the quickest and easiest way for a scientist to show to the reader how reliable their data is. An older method used to be using the “±” symbol. For example, suppose I want to tell you the temperature is 106.234456756316846541684±0.01oC. Two things immediately come to mind; first, why did I bother to write out all of those digits if I can only trust the result to ±0.01? The second is, why bother writing all of this out, including “±0.01”, when 106.23 means exactlythe same thing. THIS is what significant figures are. The assumption is an error of ±1 in the last significant decimal point. This is why your instructor will, much to your dismay,
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