Justin Pombrio


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Zero

When we write ‘0’, we mean one of two things.


We use the character ‘0’ both for significant zeros and as a placeholder to shift other digits to the correct decimal place. This is not ordinarily a problem, but ambiguity may result when working with significant figures. Below are some number written with ’Ø’ as the placeholder zero, side-by-side with their scientific notation for comparison.

11. * 100
10 1.0 * 101
1. * 101
5200 5.200 * 103
520Ø 5.20 * 103
Ø.20 2.0 * 10-1
Ø.ØØ20 2.0 * 10-3
50.02 5.002 * 101