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1) 3.0800 - five significant figures. All the rules are illustrated by this problem. Rule one - the 3 and the 8. Rule Two - the zero between the 3 and 8. Rule three - the two trailing zeros after the 8.

2) 0.00418 - three significant figures: the 4, the 1, and the 8. This is a typical type of problem where the student errs by giving five significant figures as the answer.

3) 7.09 x 10¯5 - three significant figures. When a number is written in scientific notation, only significant figures are placed into the numerical portion. If this number were taken out of scientific notation, it would be 0.0000709.

4) 91,600 - three significant figures. The last two zeros are not considered to be significant (at least normally). Suppose you had information that showed the zero in the tens place to be significant. How would you show it to be different from the zero in the ones place, which is not significant? The answer is scientific notation. Here is how it would be written: 9.160 x 104. This CLEARLY indicates the presence of four significant figures.

5) 0.003005- four significant figures. No matter how many zeros there are between two significant figures, all the zeros are to be considered significant. A number like 70.000001 would have 8 significant figures.

6) 3.200 x 109 - four significant figures. Notice the use of scientific notation to indicate that there are two zeros which should be significant. If this number were to be written without scientific notation (3,200,000,000) the significance of those two zeros would be lost and you would - wrongly - say that there were only two significant figures.

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