# Tagged Questions

The study of measurements

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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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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
1k views

### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
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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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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 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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### 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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### 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 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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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
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?
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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 ...
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 ...
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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 ...
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? ...
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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 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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### 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 ...
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 ...
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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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### Why does the speed of light in vacuum 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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### 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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### 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 ...