The study of measurements

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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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1answer
81 views

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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1answer
48 views

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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1answer
74 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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2answers
70 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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8answers
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Why does the speed of light have no uncertainty?

I could understand that the definition of a second wouldn't have an uncertainty when related to the transition of the Cs atom, so it doesn't have an error because it's an absolute reference and we ...
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1answer
177 views

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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2answers
184 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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4answers
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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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3answers
168 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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1answer
1k 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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4answers
152 views

Could velocity be taken as fundamental instead of time?

In physics time and length are taken as fundamental in the SI system and, as it seems, in the thinking of physicists. Could one instead take velocity, with c as its unit, together with length as ...
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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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3answers
518 views

How is a second measured? And why is it measured that way?

The earth's rotation around the sun isn't exactly 24 hours. It off by some seconds which becomes somewhere around 6 hours per year and 1 day in 4 years(leap year), which brings the question why didn't ...
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3answers
764 views

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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2answers
1k 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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1answer
74 views

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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2answers
566 views

Why metric system uses kilogram as a basic SI unit?

SI system uses all (that I know) measurement basic units as 1 (single) instance: meter, second, ampere, etc, except the KILOgram. It already defined with 1000 multiplier (kilo). It prevents from ...
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1answer
101 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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1answer
76 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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4answers
284 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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1answer
151 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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1answer
155 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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1answer
125 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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1answer
159 views

How do physicists and astronomers handle leap seconds?

I'm confused by the many contradictory descriptions I see about how UTC leap seconds are accounted for. I understand that there are various ways to handle them in common practice, and I've seen a ...
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2answers
434 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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1answer
128 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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3answers
515 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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3answers
190 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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3answers
462 views

Why do we still not have an exact definition for a kilogram?

I read that there is an effort to define a kilogram in terms that can exactly be reproduced in a lab. Why has it taken so long to get this done? It seems this would be fairly important. Edit Today I ...
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5answers
488 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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1answer
61 views

How to properly read a measurement result if it is a number?

If the result of a measurement is i.e. $3.2 \pm 0.7$, what is 0.7? At which confidence level we know that the real result is inside of this interval?
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4answers
272 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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1answer
246 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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6k 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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170 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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5answers
973 views

Is anything actually 1 meter long (or 1kg of weight)?

I believe that no real objects are actually (exactly) 1 meter long, since for something to be 1.00000000... meters long, we would have to have the ability to measure with infinite precision. ...
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3answers
378 views

If time standard clocks and any memories about the time standard are destroyed, can we recover the time standard again?

Assume the time standard clocks and any memories about the time standard are destroyed. Can we recover the time standard again exactly? Recovering the time standard again means we can determine the ...
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4answers
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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 ...