How to determine the significant figures of very large and very small numbers? One benefit of scientific notation is you can easily express the number in the correct number significant figures.

For example, you are not sure that this number 17100000000000 has two, three or five significant figures. If this number has two significant figures, this number can be expressed in scientific notation as \(1.7 \times 10^{13}\). If this number has five significant figures, it can be expressed in scientific notation as \(1.7100 \times 10^{13}\).