When you don’t know what you’re doing, do it neatly!
F 11
6
Rounding & Sig Figs
S
tatic
s
CEEn 103
Signiﬁcant Figures:
In statics, we will always round to
four
signiﬁcant ﬁgures.
What are signiﬁcant digits?
Te important ones!
For
example, here is the value for pi, written rounded to six
signiﬁcant ﬁgures:
3.14159.
Te number 3000, on the other hand,
has only one signiﬁ
cant ﬁgure (the 3), because there is no way to be sure that
the zeros following the 3 are precise representations of some
measurement, or if the number really represents a measure
ment or calculation of 3149,
which was then rounded to
one signiﬁcant digit.
If a number ends precisely with zero, we usually put a point
a±er it, like this:
3000. .
Notice how the point that means “the three zeros to the le±
of me are really zero” now looks like a stuttered period!
In
this case it is tempting to write:
3000.0
but technically the “.0” means two things:
that the measure
ment/calculation is accurate to the tenths place, and that
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 Winter '12
 StephanieAllredMagleby
 Scientific Notation, Accuracy and precision, Sig Figs

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