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Homework Help: Converting between scientific & regular notation, without changing sig. figs.?

  1. Jun 16, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    According to the question, i have to convert 3.60 * 105 to regular notation, without changing the number of significant figures, which is currently, as i understand, three.
    I'm just really unsure how to do this.
    Any help?

    2. Relevant equations
    Some said to write out 360,000 & use a bar on the leftmost zero. But, the textbook doesn't mention bars so i'm not sure if we're allowed to use them. Is there any other solution?

    3. The attempt at a solution
    If it were 3.6 * 105, I know it would just be 360,000

    However, that 3.60 is what's really messing me up.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2012 #2
    360,000 is still correct. 3.6 x 10^5 means that the actual value is in the range from:

    355,000 to 365,000.

    Whereas 3.60 x 10^5 means that the actual value is in the range from:

    359,500 to 360,500.
  4. Jun 16, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the reply, but doesn't the value 360,000 have 2 significant digits? That would be changing the number of significant digits, which according to the question, im not allowed to do.
  5. Jun 16, 2012 #4
    To specify 2 sig digs, write the uncertainty after the value.

    For 3.6 x 10^5, the uncertainty would be ± 5,000.

    That means the uncertainty for 3.60 x 10^5 is...?
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