The study of measurements

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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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148 views

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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231 views

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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761 views

The famous drop of $c$

In this, in my opinion, intriguing speech, Rupert Sheldrake, tells the story of the drop between the measured valued of $c$ in 1928 and 1945. When he goes to visit the Head of Metrology of the Physics ...
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Temperature in CGS (Gaussian) units

I've been struggling with conversion from Gaussian to SI units for sometime, trying to figure out how derived units in CGS (current, charge etc) relate to the SI units. But I couldn't find any ...
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267 views

Age of the universe in years

It seems to be commonly accepted that the Big Bang occurred roughly 13.7 billion years ago. My question is what is the meaning of the year in this context? When I type year definition into google, ...
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4k views

Why is the Ampere a base unit and not the Coulomb?

I always thought of current as the time derivative of charge, $\frac{dq}{dt}$. However, I found out recently that it is the Ampere that is the base unit and not the Coulomb. Why is this? It seems to ...
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What's keeping us from simply redefining Avogadro's Number / the Mole as a definite integer?

This might be a question to ask in a Chemistry site, but because there is a lot of talk about redefining many units of measurements in terms of Avogadro's Number / the Mole, I was wondering why we ...
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Meaning of dimension

I was wondering what dimension can mean in physics? I know it can mean the dimension of the space and time. But there is dimensional analysis. How is this dimension related to and different from the ...
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3k views

Why is a degree Celsius exactly the same as a Kelvin?

How on earth is it possible that the difference between two temperatures in Celsius and Kelvin is exactly the same. Given the historical definition of Celsius, I find it hard to believe that this is ...
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How many measurements should be done? [closed]

I am measuring time of a computer operation. The operation should run roughly same time each time I measure it. How many times should I measure it to get good average and standard deviation?
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144 views

Zero uncertainty constant and a unit change

So, we know the speed of light with zero uncertainty. We also know that values of $\epsilon_0$ (electric constant) and $\mu_0$ (magnetic constant) are known with zero uncertainty. My questions are ...
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103 views

A sphere, a simple object?

In this video, the woman says that a sphere is a pretty simple object. What intrigues me is the use of a sphere for such a calculation. First of all, the sphere wouldn't be perfect as a perfect sphere ...
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381 views

Why a day is divided by 12/24 hours? Why the number 12?

Why a day is divided by 12/24 hours? Why the number 12? Why not using 10 or 6 or 14, 16? Who invented this? Any physical reasons behind this?
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279 views

Difference between nautical and terrestrial miles

Does someone know the historical reason behind the difference in physical units between nautical and terrestrial miles?
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299 views

There are plans to develop a better definition of a “second”. How does the current definition fall short?

The current definition of a second is stated here and I found a presentation on the BIPM site which discusses plans to change to a "better" definition of a second. You can find the presentation here. ...
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191 views

Does the Kelvin have a rigorous definition?

From Wikipedia: The kelvin is defined as the fraction 1⁄273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water. That presupposes that we can take a fraction of temperature. Now, ...
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785 views

Atomic clocks and how to synchronize them

During teaching measurement section in the class, Our teacher told us about atomic clocks. I have two questions: What is exactly an atomic clock? and how do we synchronize two atomic clocks far ...
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154 views

How is charge measured and mass of the electron at the same time?

There are few constants that usually come together, $e/m$ also $h/e$. How are they decoupled? If the speed of light is "derived" as Wikipedia states how meter defined and time?
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850 views

How do Temperature Scales work?

How exactly do temperature scales work? If my understanding is correct, the Celsius scale has two fixed points: (definitions of temperature irrespective of scale) 1. The freezing point of pure water ...
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237 views

Can you use PCR to make a standard kg?

While reading this question: Why do we still not have an exact definition for a kilogram? , I had a crazy thought. Using PCR, you make a known number of copies of a DNA strand where the length and ...
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5answers
607 views

Why were the SI base quantities chosen as such?

The reasons for choosing length, mass, time, temperature, and amount as base quantities look (at least to me) obvious. What I'm puzzling about is why current (as opposed to resistance, electromotive ...
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4answers
306 views

Are circularly defined {velocity, distance, and time} a problem in physics?

In order to measure velocity, one needs a calibrated measuring stick and clock. But in order to calibrate a measuring stick you need a calibrated clock and velocity. And in order to calibrate a clock ...
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403 views

Avogadro's number

Could I get an explanation of Avogadro's number and how it relates to determining the mass of a substance? My chemistry textbook only serves to confuse me and the Wikipedia article is aimed towards a ...
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10k views

refractive index of air in dependence of temperature

What is the exact dependence of the refractive index of air and the temperature? Is there a theoretical derivation of it?
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189 views

What widely recognized organizations set standards used by physics?

I recently answered a question about the meaning of the word "dimension" as used in physics. In that response, I provided the definition given in the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM) and ...
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Measuring the speed of light and defining the metre - absolute or relative?

If the metre is now defined as the distance light travels in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458th of a second and the speed of light is accepted to be ...