I dimly remember from my youth a quotation from a famous engineer or mathematician about the need for expressing values with a suitable number of digits, but can't remember it at the moment. It was something like

"Nothing shows ignorance faster than using more digits than is appropriate."

However my google-fu has failed me. Anyone out there aware of it?


1 Answer 1


“It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision to which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible.” Aristotle

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ From Nicomachean Ethics for those who care. $\endgroup$
    – user5594
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ πεπαιδευμένου γάρ ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον τἀκριβὲς ἐπιζητεῖν καθ᾽ ἕκαστον γένος, ἐφ᾽ ὅσον ἡ τοῦ πράγματος φύσις ἐπιδέχεται... (Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, Chapter 3.) $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 22:22

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