The study of measurements

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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 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 ...
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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 candela a base SI unit?

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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120 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 ...
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115 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 ...
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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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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: ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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268 views

Definition of metre

We know that 1 meter is the distance travelled by light in vacuum within a time interval of 1/299,792,458 second. My question is why we didn't take a simpler number like 1/300,000.000 or why not just ...
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Why is the absolute zero a rational number in Celcius?

From the question "Why is the absolute zero -273.15ºC?" I understood that 1°C is the 100th part of the difference of melting and boiling temperature of water (this is my high school physics, ...
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Uncertainty of permittivity of vacuum [duplicate]

Question: The value of permittivity of vacuum, $\epsilon_0$, is given with absolutely no uncertainty in NIST Why is this the case? More details: The permeability of vacuum can be given by ...
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How is UT1 being computed?

I've recently read up about time standards and now understand that UTC is a second-corrected version of international atomic time so that it is kept within 0.9s from UT1. And then UT1 is defined as ...
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The value of one atomic mass unit

In my textbook, it is given: 1 atomic mass unit equals $1/12$th mass of one carbon 12-atom. Since mass of $6.02 * 10^{26}$ atoms of carbon-12 is $12\space\text{kg}$. Thus, $$1 \text{ a.m.u ...
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Definition of Ampere

On Wikipedia it says: This force is used in the formal definition of the ampere, which states that it is "the constant current that will produce an attractive force of $2 × 10–7$ newton per metre ...
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Significant figures vs. absolute error

On NIST Avogadro's Number, $N_A = 6.022\;141\;29 \times 10^{23} \text{ mol}^{-1}$ has 9 significant figures and a standard uncertainty of $0.000\;000\;27 \times 10^{23} \text{ mol}^{-1}$. First, can ...
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$1.7\cdot 10^{-24}$ mole apples a day

As the title suggests I was wondering why the International Bureau of Weights and Measures decided a mole to be a standard (SI-)unit. After some research I found I was not alone with this problem. ...
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Which is the “roundest man-made object”: Gravity probe B rotor or the Avogadro project sphere?

The Avogadro project is part of the efforts to replace the artefact-based standard kilogram with a definition based on naturally reproducible objects. The main challenge is to make a very precise ...
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How is a standard unit divided into equally smaller or fractional units physically/experimentally?

Consider the standard unit of length: meter. How was it divided into decimeter, centimeter, millimeter, etc. when there were no shorter lengths than the standard? What is the physical/experimental ...