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November 30th, 2012, 07:20 AM   #1
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Significant figures

Hey I just need a little help


(6.37 x 10^6 m) x 2 = 12.47 x 10^6 m^2

but with significant figures it should be the least precise value for an answer

since 2 is the least precise value in the question, should the answer be 13 x 10^6 m^2 ?

its just confusing me a bit since 2 is just one significant figure and well 13 is two significant figures

sorry if this sounds so stupid!


Many thanks
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November 30th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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Re: Significant figures

It depends on context. 2 may be exact.
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December 1st, 2012, 06:49 AM   #3
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Re: Significant figures

Hi mathman

Yes 2 is an exact value in this case (2 isn't any measurement or anything, its simply multiplying by 2)

(6.37 x 10^6 m) is the measurement of the radius of the earth (I'm just finding out the diameter) . if that helps

but still unsure where I should go from here
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December 1st, 2012, 07:16 AM   #4
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Re: Significant figures

Now thinking about, would it be to 3 s.f ? since 2 isn't a measurement, its just doubling a measurement? so the least precise value is only 6.37 x 10^6 m
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December 1st, 2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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Re: Significant figures

You started with 6.37 which to be precise (I assume) is 6.37 .005. When you double it you then have 12.74 .01. Significant figures is a rough term.
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