If you are studying history, you might say that Mahatma Gandhi was a significant figure in the campaign for Indian independence from British rule. In your study of biology, however, the term significant figure has a completely different meaning. It relates to the digits within a number. Your ability to use an appropriate number of significant figures is one of the mathematical skills tested in biology examinations.
Within any number, the digits 1 to 9 are always significant figures. The problems arise when zeros are involved. Table 1 summarises whether zeros count as significant figures, depending on where they appear within a number.
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