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Format of Real Numbers in Mathematica

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: Format of Real Numbers in Mathematica
  • From: uunet!!mcdonald (Bill MacDonald)
  • Date: Tue, 10 Apr 90 12:14:05 EDT

Apropos Richard Fateman's complaint that Mathematica interprets 5.0 as being
uncertain to the range 4.5 to 5.4, I note that NumberForm[] insists in
printing an exact 0.5 in a table of the sine function as 0.5, dropping all
trailing zeroes, even when asked to output all numbers in the table to, say
5 decimal places.  This is very annoying when I want to produce a good looking
table, but it also is inconsistent with the assumption on INPUT that 0.5 has
one significant decimal figure.  I will also throw in my complaint that
Mathematica labels the tics on graph figures in a nonuniform way, for example,
as 1.5,2.,2.5,3. etc. when publication quality graphs require 1.5,2.0,2.5,3.0,
etc.  In short, Mathematica seems to be inconsistent in the way it relates
trailing zeros to precision, or accuracy, or whatever.

mcdonald at (Bill MacDonald)

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