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Unformatted text preview: are measuring the liquid in a graduated cylinder, with markings every 0.1 mL, as shown in the figure to the left. We know that the liquid level is above 8.7, but less than 8.8; so what is it? (Forgive the squiggly line; it was drawn by hand.) Well, how far up does it look to you? Maybe 70% of the way? OK, so you record 8.77 in your records. Dont worry that the last number is a guess, this is what a significant figure means! The reader knows that last 7 is not significant, but if you dont record it, then the reader will assume that the first 7 was a guess. This is also why you need to record zeros; if the line were exactly on the 8.7 line, record it as 8.70, so the reader knows that your estimate is to 0.01, not just 0.1....
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- Fall '11