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  • Significant Figures (s.f)

Definition: The most significant figure (s.f) in a number is the non-zero digit which has the highest place value of the number.

872.09 has five digits. The most or 1st significant figure is 8. The 2nd significant figure is 7, the 3rd is 2, the fourth is 0 and the fifth is 9.

However, the 1st significant figure in a decimal fraction is the first non-zero figure after the decimal point. For example, the number 0.0008051 is given to 4 s.f. Note that the 0 between 8 and 5 is significant.

Example 6.3.1:

Give the following numbers

i. 546,740

ii. 65.0457 to 

(a) 1s.f (b) 2 s.f (c) 3 s.f

Solution (i):

a. 546,740 = 500,000 to 1 s.f (round down 4)


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