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Significant Figures

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**Rule 1: All non-zero digits are significant. Ex: 48.7 2962 **

= 3 SF = 4 SF

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**Rule 2: Zeros in the middle of a series of numbers are significant**

Rule 2: Zeros in the middle of a series of numbers are significant. Ex: ,702 50,008 = 3 SF = 6 SF = 5 SF

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**Zeros in front of a series of numbers are not significant.**

Rule 3: Zeros in front of a series of numbers are not significant. (They are being used as place holders to insure the correct number of decimal places.) Ex: 0.473 0.0305 = 1 SF = 3 SF = 3 SF

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**Rule 4: Zeros to the right of a decimal are significant. Ex: 3. 00 437**

= 3 SF = 6 SF = 5 SF

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**Rule 5: Zeros at the end of a number that are followed by a decimal are significant. Ex: 2000. **

= 4 SF

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Rule 6: Zeros at the end of a number that does not have a decimal are not considered to be significant. (They may be significant, but we do not have enough information to be sure.) Ex: 2000 assume 1 SF

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**Atlantic – Pacific Rule**

Pacific Rule - If a decimal is PRESENT start counting with the first non-zero digit from the left. Pacific Side: decimal present 0.0019 65.01 0.0300 700. Atlantic Side: decimal absent 80200 400000 32105 700 2 SF 3 SF 4 SF 1 SF 3 SF 5 SF 3 SF 1 SF Atlantic Rule – If the decimal is ABSENT start counting with the first non-zero digit from the right.

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**Rules for doing calculations**

The answer to a set of calculations can not be more accurate than the least accurate value used in the calculation.

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**Multiplication and Division**

The number of significant figures in the answer is equal to the lowest number of significant figures used in the calculation. Ex 1: x = this will be reported with 3 SF as 175 Ex 2: /4.2 = this will be reported with 2 SF as 2.0

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**Addition and Subtraction**

Use the same number of decimal places as the least accurate value. (smallest number of decimal places) Ex 1: = This will be reported as 57.1 Ex 2: 240 – 71.3 = 168.7 Round to the tens place and report as 170

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