What measurment to write to correct number of significant figures?

Posted on 2012-09-20
Last Modified: 2012-09-21
Following is High School Chemistry question:

I can lift a 20 kilogram weight over my head ten times before I get tired.
Write this measurement to the correct number of significant figures.

What is the measurement?  Is it 20 Kilogram?
Question by:naseeam
    1 Comment
    LVL 27

    Accepted Solution

    I interpret it as meaning what total weight is involved ie 10 x 20.
    The correct number of sig figs is what you teacher or book says. That is, there is not universal agreement as to the number of sig figs to use.
    one way is to say
    the 10 is exact, the 20 is written to two sig figs therefor the answer should also be written to two sig figs that is as 20o or better and more usual 2.0 x 10^2.
    Now when lifting weights the weight used is usually known to better that two sig figs so it might better have been written as 20.00 in which case the answer would be written as four sig figs. The argument can go on and on.

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