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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

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how to synthesize TiO2 nanoparticles by chemical methods
Zubear
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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