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The purpose of this module is to explain the use of scientific notation and significant figures.

Table of contents

Preface

General

This module is part of a series of modules designed for teaching the physics component of GAME2302 Mathematical Applications for Game Development at Austin Community College in Austin, TX. (See GAME 2302-0100: Introduction for the first module in the course along with a description of the course,course resources, homework assignments, etc.)

The purpose of this module is to explain the use of scientific notation and significant figures.

Viewing tip

I recommend that you open another copy of this document in a separate browser window and use the following links to easily find and view the Figuresand Listings while you are reading about them.

Figures

  • Figure 1 . Examples of significant figures.
  • Figure 2 . Screen output from Listing #1.
  • Figure 3 . Screen output from Listing #2.
  • Figure 4 . Behavior of the toPrecision method.
  • Figure 5 . Screen output from Listing #3.

Listings

  • Listing 1 . An exercise involving addition.
  • Listing 2 . An exercise involving multiplication.
  • Listing 3 . An exercise involving combined operations.

General background information

This section will contain a discussion of accuracy, precision, scientific notation, and significant figures.

Accuracy and precision

Let's begin with a brief discussion of accuracy and precision. These two terms are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation, but they have very differentmeanings in the world of science and engineering.

Accuracy

In science and engineering, the accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to its actual (true) value.

Precision

The precision of a measurement system (also called reproducibility or repeatability) is the degree to which repeated measurements under unchangedconditions show the same result.

Four possibilities

A measurement system can be:

  • Both accurate and precise.
  • Accurate but not precise.
  • Precise but not accurate.
  • Neither accurate nor precise.

A hypothetical experiment

Consider an experiment where a firearm is clamped into a fixture, very carefully aimed at a bulls eye on a downrange target, and fired six times.(Although you may never have seen or touched a firearm, you probably have a pretty good idea of how they behave.)

If the six holes produced by the bullets in the target fall in a tight cluster in the bulls eye, the system can be considered to be both accurate andprecise.

If all of the holes fall in the general area of the bulls eye but the cluster is not very tight, the system can be considered to be accurate but not precise.

If all of the holes fall in a tight cluster but the cluster is some distance from the bulls eye, the system can be considered to be precise but not accurate.

If the holes are scattered across a wide area of the target, the system can be considered to be neither accurate nor precise.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
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Source:  OpenStax, Game 2302 - mathematical applications for game development. OpenStax CNX. Jan 09, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11450/1.33
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