Introduction to Chemistry
Before we go deeper, let us first review our basic mathematics. Click the topic you want to review.
The metric system is an international "decimalised" system of measurement that was originally based on the mètre des archives and the kilogramme des archives introduced by France in 1799. Over the years, the definitions of the metre and kilogram have been refined and the metric system extended to incorporate many more units. Although a number of variants of the metric system emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the term is now often used as a synonym for the "International System of Units" - the official system of measurement in almost every country in the world.
Scientific notation is a way of writing numbers that are too large or too small to be conveniently written in standard decimal notation. Scientific notation has a number of useful properties and is commonly used in calculators and by scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
The significant figures (also called significant digits or, informally, 'sig figs') of a number are those digits that carry meaning contributing to its precision. This includes all digits except:
- leading and trailing zeros which are merely placeholders to indicate the scale of the number.
- spurious digits introduced, for example, by calculations carried out to greater precision than that of the original data, or measurements reported to a greater precision than the equipment supports.