Scientific notation  [ENDORSED]

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Kalsuda Lapborisuth 1B
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:03 am

Scientific notation

Postby Kalsuda Lapborisuth 1B » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:49 am

Should we always answer in scientific notation? or simply maintaining sig figs is enough?

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Re: Scientific notation  [ENDORSED]

Postby DomMaiorca_1I » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:01 pm

Sig figs should be enough, but for really small or really large numbers I would use scientific notation to be concise.

Gianna Graziano 1A
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:00 am

Re: Scientific notation

Postby Gianna Graziano 1A » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:19 pm

Hi Kalsuda,
I do not think that there is heavy emphasis on neither sig figs or scientific notation this quarter. Personally, I am uncomfortable working with scientific notation, so I will oftentimes convert numbers that are given to me in scientific notation into decimals and change them back for my end result. I think that it is okay to answer with either decimals or sig figs. My TA recommended keeping no more than 3 numbers after the decimal point in your response. It could get confusing to have super long, untruncated answers. The most important part about these calculations is that you are attempting to be as accurate as possible.

Jack Dias
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:02 am

Re: Scientific notation

Postby Jack Dias » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:31 pm


Professor Lavelle stated that significant figures would not be a concern for the purposes of Chem 14A; it isn't something to be concerned with generally. That said, I advise that you keep your final answer limited, like what Gianna's TA said, and in addition, I would avoid rounding/simplifying until the end of the problem if possible so you don't compromise accuracy.


Jade Corpus-Sapida 1G
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:02 am

Re: Scientific notation

Postby Jade Corpus-Sapida 1G » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:19 pm

In class, he also mentioned how we wouldn't get negatively impacted for the quizzes if we weren't to follow sig figs. I assume this may also apply to tests as well?

Erin Li 1K
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:03 am

Re: Scientific notation

Postby Erin Li 1K » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:13 am

I think either is fine, but generally in chemistry, scientific notation is used. However, Lavelle did mention that significant figures do not matter in this course.

Bijal Luhar
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:03 am

Re: Scientific notation

Postby Bijal Luhar » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:43 am


You never have to answer in scientific notation unless it is specifically stated in the question. It is a personal preference, because sometimes people rather write .0000005 as 5x10^-7 just because it is easier. Sig figs are an important concept and you should always use them!

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Re: Scientific notation

Postby 004985802 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:11 pm

for your final answer, scientific notation is best because it makes the size/scale of your result clear, however it is not necessary in your calculations if you prefer doing math with large numbers/decimals

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