Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm wondering the difference between the 'least count' and the 'smallest division' of an instrument. Can you explain that for me, plz?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Welcome to physics.se.

It is the difference between continuous and discreet.

A least count, for example in a geiger counter, would be an integer number=1 since one can detect single hits.

A smallest division will be given by a real number. In voltmeters for example the division is continuous because the potential is a continuous quantity.

Both should be accompanied by a +/- error.

share|improve this answer
    
Can you give me easier examples? And what's the definitions of least count and smallest division? –  QED Mar 2 '13 at 0:29
    
did you look at the voltmeter? I gave a link, which is high lighted. On the face of the voltmeter you see a needle that will move when the two contacts measure a voltage. the scale is calibrated from 0 to a high value, but there exists a smallest reading/division corresponding to the width of the needle. This also reflects that voltage is a continuous measure, so there is a one to one correspondence of needle position to voltage with an error given by the smallest discrimination. –  anna v Mar 2 '13 at 4:57
    
When one measures discreet variables, people or ships or sheep the variables are discreet. Any counter measuring this will have as minimum accuracy 1 and even if the counter's indicator has a first reading at 10, the measurement will be of a discreet variable, and it will be a "least count" because one is counting in integers. –  anna v Mar 2 '13 at 5:00
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.