The study of measurements

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
1answer
102 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

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 ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
200 views

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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
54 views

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?) ...
2
votes
3answers
110 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
101 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
208 views

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 ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Why is Ampere not a derived SI unit? [duplicate]

From my understanding, Ampere is amount of elementary charge per time. So, you should be able to derive it from mol, which is amount, and seconds, which is time. My question: Why is Ampere a base ...
54
votes
5answers
8k views

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?
1
vote
1answer
139 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
25 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
161 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

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 ...
4
votes
5answers
271 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
504 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
315 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
144 views

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 ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
44
votes
5answers
6k views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

How is the Joule normalised acrpss various definitions?

Apologies if this question is a duplicate, I tried searching for this question both on Google and here, but was unable to find an answer. A Joule is defined in various ways, some of them being: ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
145 views

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 ...
20
votes
5answers
5k views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

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 ...
0
votes
3answers
198 views

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. ...
0
votes
5answers
221 views

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 ...
0
votes
4answers
167 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Speed of light definition

I understand the speed of light to be an EXACT number. If permeability of free space has a factor of pi in it, how can this be?
22
votes
7answers
7k views

Where on Earth does the mass of 1 kg actually produce a 1 kg reading on a digital scale?

Gravity on Earth varies by about 0.1% between poles and equator. If someone was buying/selling something mass critical e.g. gold, where is the standard place on Earth where a 1 kg mass produces a 1 kg ...
23
votes
2answers
547 views

What are the proposed realizations in the New SI for the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole?

The metrology world is currently in the middle of overhauling the definitions of the SI units to reflect the recent technological advances that enable us to get much more precise values for the ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

Experimental determination of speed of light

How is the speed of light measured by the most current method i.e. using lasers and atomic clocks? Alternatively, is there a better method?
0
votes
2answers
165 views

How many psi's are in one bar?

6894.7573 bar = 100000.0 psi according to google 6894.7573 bar = 100000.0001 psi according to wolfram alpha which is it? How many psis are in one ...
0
votes
1answer
220 views

How should I calculate uncertainty of measurement calculated as average of two measurements

I am measuring force with two channel transducer. Both channels (separately) of this transducer has been calibrated and I can calculate uncertainty of measurement for each of it. However I want to ...
1
vote
3answers
267 views

Generic term comprising everything that can be represented with a number and a unit?

I am looking for the generic term comprising all of the following: $23.42\,\text{m}$ $200\,\text{K}$ $123\,\text{MeV}$ $ħ$ with other words, everything that can be reasonably represented ...
3
votes
2answers
298 views

A question about atomic clocks

I have a rather simple question about atomic clocks. I have read that: Microwave radiation with a frequency of exactly 9.192.631.770 cycles per second causes the outermost electron of cesium-133 ...
4
votes
3answers
783 views

Definition of a year

Is there an acceptable definition of a year (in number of days)? Google Calculator: https://www.google.com/search?q=seconds+in+1+year returns 3.15569e7 seconds and then ...
5
votes
3answers
260 views

Does the definition of the SI unit “second” require that possible perturbation of primary frequency standards should be measured?

The definition of the SI unit "second" is stated as The second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground ...
2
votes
3answers
120 views

How units were defined?

I was wondering how we humans can be sure that one meter is one meter and that one second is one second. Nowadays, except for the Kilogram, all other units are well defined using highly accurate ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the second the SI base unit for time?

Specifically, during the moves towards Le Système international d'unités in the 18th and 19th centuries, why didn't anyone attempt to move us away from the definition of there being 24 hours in a day? ...
3
votes
1answer
859 views

Why is charge not taken as a fundamental unit? [duplicate]

According to the definition of electric current, it appears to be a derived quantity. Charge on the other hand seems more fundamental than electric current. Then why is current taken as fundamental ...
14
votes
4answers
767 views

Why isn't it $E \approx 27.642 \times mc^2$?

Sorry for the strange question, but why is it that many of the most important physical equations don't have ugly numbers (i.e., "arbitrary" irrational factors) to line up both sides? Why can so many ...
1
vote
1answer
183 views

Do quartz watches actually implement the SI definition of the second?

I always wondered how much time means 1 second? Technically, the SI second is defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two ...