Problem: Millikan determined the charge on the electron by studying the static charges on oil drops falling in an electric field. A student carried out this experiment using several oil drops for her measurements and calculated the charges on the drops. She obtained the following data:Droplet Calculated Charge (C) A1.60 x 10–19B3.15 x 10–19C4.81 x 10–19D6.31 x 10–19How many significant figures should she report for the value of the electronic charge?

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Recall:

  • In addition and subtraction → the answer carries the number of decimal places with the as the quantity with the lowest number.
  • In multiplication and division → the answer carries the number of significant figures as the factor with the fewest decimal place
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Problem Details
Millikan determined the charge on the electron by studying the static charges on oil drops falling in an electric field. A student carried out this experiment using several oil drops for her measurements and calculated the charges on the drops. She obtained the following data:
Droplet Calculated Charge (C
A1.60 x 1019
B3.15 x 1019
C4.81 x 1019
D6.31 x 1019


How many significant figures should she report for the value of the electronic charge?

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