# Tagged Questions

The study of measurements

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### SI Base Unit definition of mass - obsolete?

According to the formal definition of the SI Base unit of mass, the kilogram, it is stated that "The kilogram is the unit of mass; it is equal to the mass of the international prototype of the ...
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### Can the accuracy in Planck's constant ever be increased?

I guess I am having some confusion about the history of calculating Planck's constant. I see the mass of the electron may come into the equation here but isn't the measurement of mass based mostly ...
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### How can I estimate meta-uncertainty?

A type A uncertainty estimate is derived from repeated measurements. For example, I may estimate the uncertainty on a measurement by repeating the measurement $N$ times and then calculating some ...
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### Will Project Avogadro introduce a new constant? [closed]

Will the Avogadro Project introduce a new constant? It seems to me that the aim of the project is to define the kilogramme as some constant number of silicon atoms. What would this constant be ...
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### Do we have a better approximation of $c$ than 299792458 m/s? [duplicate]

All sites give this value as "exact" value. I mean, what's after the comma? 299792458,000 m/s?
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### Why is Avogadro's constant not exactly the inverse of the atomic mass unit (kg)?

First, Avogadro's constant (in essence, but off in terms of decimal place) is the inverse of the atomic mass unit (kg). Why are the two constants off by 10^3? Look at the picture for a quick diagram ...
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### How are thermometers calibrated?

I know this is quite vague, but I was just thinking about it......like obviously now we mass produce things and we don't really think about them. But how was the first thermometer calibrated/how are ...
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### Where is the periodic nature in the Cs atomic clock? [closed]

In case of pendulum clock,lets say one swing ticks one second..but what is the analogy in case of CAESIUM atomic clock? Is 9,192,631,770 ticks is equivalent to one tick in pendulum clock? And how we ...
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### How to count such a huge number of oscillation in atomic clock? [duplicate]

A second is defined as time taken for 9,192,631,770 oscillations of caesium hyperfine levels. But it's not exactly that the electron moves up and down between these two levels. So it must be related ...
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### Why is metre defined in terms of distance covered by light in 1 second? [duplicate]

Why is the unit of length defined with the help of unit of time? (1m=x covered by time in 1/3*10^8 s) Isn't length a fundamental unit too, why is it defined in terms of an other unit?
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### Is there an official list of independent units of measurements?

When I say 'independent units', I mean those which cannot be broken down anymore, and simultaneously forms the basis for any more, complex measurements. For example, height, length, and width can all ...
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### Is there any truth to interpreting definition of a second as corresponding to oscillations?

As far as I understand the definition of a second, the Cs-133 atom has two hyperfine ground states (which I don't really understand what they are but it's not really important), with a specific energy ...
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### How did scientists calculate the number of atoms in one mole of a substance? [duplicate]

Please explain me about the basic methods about how can we calculate that 1 mole of a substance contains 6.022140857 × 10 23 molecules? Tell how the modern scientists calculated it and how Avogadro ...
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### Atomic Clocks: How is time measured?

I am trying to understand atomic clocks better. I am not getting HOW the cesium oscillation is actually being counted. So from my understanding of an older atomic clock: cesium gets heated-> ...
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### Why is a second equal to the duration of exactly 9,192,631,770 periods of radiations?

Why is a second equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom? Why is the number ...
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### Is it experimentally proven that photons travel at speed $c$ in vacuum?

Are there experiments which show that single photons (not classical em waves) travel exactly at $c$ in vacuum? What is the error bar in that case? The question is posed due to the fact that loop ...
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### Software engineer vs physics engineer vs computational physics [closed]

Don't know if this question is off topic, but i think it is the best place to get an answer. I am finishing the 3rd year of a degree in physics engineering. I enjoyed the first year, but in the ...
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### How are the SI units “generalised”?

How exactly are the SI units generalised from their definitions? E.g. the kilogram is a weight of an object of cylindrical form, with diameter and height of about 39 mm, and is made of an alloy of ...
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### How many fixed points does a Kelvin scale have?

I have a book that says: In the absolute Kelvin scale, the triple point of water is assigned the value of 273.16 K. The absolute zero is taken as the other fixed point. But, then another ...
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### Pressure at ground level and at sea level

1atm = 101325pa 1bar = 100000 pa 1atm = 1.013 bar 1bar = 0.987atm From wiki: The bar is a metric (but not SI) unit of pressure exactly equal to 100000 Pa.[1] It is about equal to the atmospheric ...
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### AFM cantilevers driven below resonance?

Is there a physical reason why AFM cantilevers are driven below their resonance frequencies? In all of the AFMs I have used, once you measure the resonance frequency of the cantilever, it is set up ...
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### Why isn't a meter defined from a kilogram of water?

Why are there different official definitions for a kilogram and for a meter when a meter can be defined by the volume of a kilogram of water? For instance, using the triple point or some other state ...
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### Why are measurements standardized the way they are?

Using meters as a base length, squaring or cubing lengths smaller than 0.67m makes the square term larger than the cubed term. This fact causes certain properties of physics (how rain needs to form?) ...
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### Are the 7 base quantities in SI system really independent?

In a typical description of the 7 base quantities of the SI system we see the following two points: All other quantities can be derived from them. They are "independent". My question is about ...
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### What is time measured against? [duplicate]

Today I was observing a clock and its movement, every second is an exact second on every clock. I was making a comparison between a second and a meter. I know in France there is a metal stick one ...
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### Oscillation of Atom

What exactly does it mean when one says 'one atom of Caesium 137 oscillates 9,192,631,770 times'? I do understand the general thing about oscillation but what exactly is the oscillation of atom, what ...
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### Is the speed of light in vacuum constant or does the math just happen to work out?

My apologies if my question is really idiotic, but I ask sincerely because I want to learn. Based on this question and lots of other places on the web, this topic seems to be really confusing. Let's ...
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### Is the speed of light in vacuum always the same value?

The escape velocity of different planets and stars vary. If they vary, the velocities of bodies escaping from the respective stars or planets should also vary. Like, if I want a ball to reach 10 ...
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### Why do atomic clocks only use caesium?

Modern atomic clocks only use caesium atoms as oscillators. Why don't we use other atoms for this role?
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### What is the reason we originally and still use the non-SI unit, the Jansky?

The Jansky is the unit for spectral flux density. It is defined as $$1 {\rm \ Jy} = 10^{-26} {\rm W \ m^{-2} \ Hz^{-1}}$$ in terms of Watts per square meter per Hertz. I've never quite understood ...
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### Definition of 1 calorie

Why has the definition of 1 calorie been taken to be the energy required to heat 1 gram of water from 14.5 to 15.5 degree centigrade at standard pressure? Is there any specific reason for taking the ...
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### How can we be sure that a new frequency standard is better than the old one?

Lets assume for this question that at one point in scientific history everyone was running along well with their cesium frequency standards, and someone has a brilliant idea and builds an active ...
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### How can I measure a length of over 4 feet to an accuracy of 1/100th of an inch?

How can I measure a length of over 4 feet to an accuracy of 1/100th of an inch ? I want to make several metal standard bars of a particular lengths, some of which are over 4 feet and I want the ...
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### Mass-energy-equivalence's effect on SI units?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding mass energy equivalence, but can we use it to get rid of the Joule (or the kilogram) and have a single unit for both? It seems weird that if they're equivalent they'd have ...
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### Why is the candela a base unit of the SI?

The candela is defined as The candela is the luminous intensity, in a given direction, of a source that emits monochromatic radiation of frequency $540\cdot10^{12}$ hertz and that has a radiant ...
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### Experimentally finding units of physical quantity?

Say you had a new physical quantity you wanted to determine the units for. How do you go about this? For the strength of an electromagnet for example, you could carry out a simple experiment like the ...
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### Is the second defined arbitrarily? [duplicate]

According to the definition a second is defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of ...
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### What unit system does Fahrenheit belong to?

Wikipedia's page for Imperial Units does not list Fahrenheit. The corresponding page for SI Units lists Kelvin as an SI unit, and Celcius as a derived SI unit. This leads me to believe that ...
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### How are weights and scales used by the public calibrated?

My physics teacher has a set of masses: things from 1 to 10 grams. My chemistry teacher has electronic balances that measures things in grams. In France, there is a block of metal we hope no one ...
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### Why is the mole/“amount of substance” a dimensional quantity?

According to the BIPM and Wikipedia, "amount of substance" (as measured in moles) is one of the base quantities in our system of weights and measures. Why? I get why the mole is useful as a unit. In ...
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### Why is the prospective new kilogram standard a sphere?

I can understand the choice of material, silicon 28, but why is it a sphere rather than (say) a cube? Article here I would have thought that a sphere would have been the hardest shape to machine ...
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### Unit definition concerning light and metre [closed]

A stupid question. I see metre is officially defined based on the speed of light: The meter is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1 / 299 792 458 of ...
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### Why did scientists need to invent light years?

Why did scientists need to invent light years? What's so important about having a light year? I have been learning that a light year is $9.461 \times 10^{15} \, \mathrm{m}$. My question is, why are ...
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### Why is energy not an SI base unit?

According to a textbook I have begun to read, there are seven base SI units: Length Mass Time Temperature Amount of a substance Electric current Luminous intensity What I do not understand is, why ...
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### Significant figure rules [duplicate]

In a simple physics experiment, we take the average a few readings to reduce the random errors. I apply significant figure rules to these. Say we round off at each step: (8.0+9.0+10.0)/3 = 27.0/3 (...
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### Why was the original definition of meter abandoned?

The meter was originally intended to represent $1$ ten-millionth($10^{-7}$) of the distance from pole to equator of the Earth along a meridian of longitude. The definition was later discarded. Now, ...
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### Why is the speed of light in vacuum constant? [duplicate]

Are there any proof of the speed of light in vacuum being constant? All I hear is that light in vacuum travels at a constant speed because that's an observation and that it fits in a coherent theory ...
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### How confident can we be that the speed of light in a medium is constant?

I have recently found this article http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/02.18/light.html it tells that physicists have been able to slow the speed of light. Is this hokum? If not how is it possible to ...