# Is this a way to show error?

According to Wikipedia, the mass of an electron is 0.510 998 9461(31) MeV/c2. Why are the last two digits of this number in parenthesis? Is this the same thing as saying (0.510 998 9461 ± 0.000 000 0031) MeV/c2.

± 0.000 000 0031

No, it does not mean that. It means that it is approximately equal to 0.510 998 946131 but the last two decimal places are uncertain.

Lord Jestocost
Gold Member
Use of concise notation (from https://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/cuu/Info/Constants/definitions.html)

If, for example, y = 1 234.567 89 U and u(y) = 0.000 11 U, where U is the unit of y, then Y = (1 234.567 89 ± 0.000 11) U. A more concise form of this expression, and one that is in common use, is Y = 1 234.567 89(11) U, where it understood that the number in parentheses is the numerical value of the standard uncertainty referred to the corresponding last digits of the quoted result.

Mason Smith
Use of concise notation (from https://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/cuu/Info/Constants/definitions.html)

If, for example, y = 1 234.567 89 U and u(y) = 0.000 11 U, where U is the unit of y, then Y = (1 234.567 89 ± 0.000 11) U. A more concise form of this expression, and one that is in common use, is Y = 1 234.567 89(11) U, where it understood that the number in parentheses is the numerical value of the standard uncertainty referred to the corresponding last digits of the quoted result.
This helped a lot. Thank you for the reference.