2
votes
2answers
95 views

Why do we set $x^0 = ct$ instead of $x^0 = t$?

When we deal with Special Relativity and we start considering spacetime instead of space and time each at once, we usually see books saying that we consider a space with four coordinate $x^\alpha$ ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

How can Planck units be consistent with conflicting dimensions of mass?

I suspect I'm missing something obvious, but I'm coming up blank. I've gotten pretty comfortable with so-called natural units over the years: in doing quantum mechanics/QFT, it's common to set $c = ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

What is dimensional units/quantity and dimensional state

First, I am not a native English-speaking student so I am not good at physics definitions in English. I participated in the MIT e-learning course on classical physics. The 1st lesson is about 3 ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Units of the Stokes-Einstein rotational diffusion coefficient

The Stokes-Einstein rotational diffusion relation tells us that we can write down a rotational diffusion coefficient for a sphere as: $$D_r \approx \frac{k_B T}{\zeta_f} \approx \frac{k_B T}{(8 \pi ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Dimensional analysis and the interpretation of measures [closed]

-- motivation for the question In the process of taking measures, selected amounts are chosen to be the reference (kg,m,s,..) and a measure is a comparison between 2 quantities, a ratio. When a ...
3
votes
8answers
564 views

Why does Coulomb's constant have units?

I think of Coulomb's constant as a conversion factor (not sure if this is correct). Kind of like how you would do calculations in kg and then times it by the conversion constant to convert your answer ...
1
vote
3answers
81 views

What does the decay constant mean?

In my curriculum, the decay constant is "the probability of decay per unit time" To me, this seems non-sensical, as the decay constant can be greater than one, which would imply that a particle has a ...
4
votes
2answers
185 views

Integrating equations with units

I was looking through an old copy of Barron's AP Physics and found this problem relating to impulse which I was initially confused about how to integrate. Example 6.1 During a collision with a ...
6
votes
2answers
655 views

Square bracket notation for dimensions and units: usage and conventions

One of the most useful tools in dimensional analysis is the use of square brackets around some physical quantity $q$ to denote its dimension as $$[q].$$ However, the precise meaning of this symbol ...
7
votes
5answers
325 views

Is the number 1 a unit?

In dimensionless analysis, coefficients of quantities which have the same unit for numerator and denominator are said to be dimensionless. I feel the word dimensionless is actually wrong and should be ...
1
vote
0answers
103 views

Scale-invariant differential operator

For example, the differential operator Laplacian is $$\nabla^2 = \frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2}+\frac{\partial^2}{\partial y^2}.$$ My questions are: Is it scale-invariant? what is ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views

Functional derivative and units

The both sides of below equation don't give the same units, e.g. $$ \frac{\delta}{\delta \phi (\tau)}\int_a^b \phi (\tau') d\tau'=1\;. $$ where $a<\tau<b$. To show this assume that the field ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Unit analysis of a Fourier transform

This is an extension of a Phys.SE question I asked earlier, Fourier transform of two pulses of light. I start with 2 Gaussians, represented by the equation $e^{-(t/a)^2}\times e^{2\pi i d ...
2
votes
2answers
167 views

Understanding units manipulation (speed of falling coconut after 20m)

When I was on holidays, I was told a story about how someone passing under a palmtree and almost got a coconut fall on his head. Given that these palmtrees where about $20m$ high, we wondered at what ...
8
votes
4answers
285 views

Physical representation of volume to surface area

I was looking at this XKCD what-if question (the gas mileage part), and started to wonder about the concept of unit cancellation. If we have a shape and try to figure out the ratio between the volume ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

The units of gain and number of atoms in population inversion in a laser

I am following my university course notes on amplification in laser media, and have come across expressions for the gain of a medium, but the notes are not exactly rigorous... The expression given for ...
5
votes
1answer
230 views

What are units actually?

This question is about the concept of units in physics. Firstly - do units have a formal mathematical definition? How are they different from pure numbers? Are pure numbers defined to be ratios of ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Does the unit of a quantity change if you take square root of it?

For example, I have a mass, m = 0.1kg and I square root it, giving me m = 0.316 (3s.f.) does the unit still stay as kg, or does it change?
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Units for physical constants

Someone told me that units for $G$ and $\epsilon_0$ (gravitational constant and Coulomb's constant) are placed there simply to make equations work dimensionally and that there is no real physical ...
3
votes
3answers
147 views

Curious relation between the dependance in ℏ of Planck units and units dimensions

Looking at Planck units, there seems to be a curious rule between the dependance in $\hbar$ of a Planck unit and the unit dimensions of the corresponding physical quantity. Let the dimensions of the ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
320 views

Showing that position times momentum and energy times time have the same dimensions

I've been asked to show that both the position-momentum uncertainty principle and the energy-time uncertainty principle have the same units. I've never see a question of this type, so am I allowed to ...
2
votes
3answers
422 views

Planck time, distance, mass? Why do we take those values?

Say we want to make an educated guess for critical values of time, distance and mass, where quantum gravity effects are supposed to be non-negligible. These values are given the prefix "Planck-". Now, ...
0
votes
2answers
124 views

Dimension analysis of de Broglie equations

One form of one of the de Broglie's equations is this: $\lambda = \frac{2\pi\hbar}{p}$ Units: $\lambda = [m]$ $\hbar = [Js]$ $p = [\frac{kg m}{s}]$ $J=[Nm]$ How can one show with dimension ...
1
vote
3answers
125 views

How could the unit of a constant be unit of tension $N^{-1}$?

From my pervious Question:What are the units of the quantities in the Einstein field equation? i noticed that the unit of this constant $\frac {G}{c^4}$ is the unit of tenstion $$\frac ...
4
votes
2answers
680 views

What are the units of the quantities in the Einstein field equation?

The Einstein field equations (EFE) may be written in the form: $$R_{\mu\nu}-\frac {1}{2}g_{\mu\nu}R+g_{\mu\nu}\Lambda=\frac {8\pi G}{c^4}T_{\mu\nu}$$ where the units of the gravitational constant $G$ ...
1
vote
4answers
341 views

Is dimensional analysis used outside fluid mechanics and transport phenomena?

Most dimensionless numbers (at least the ones easily found) used for dimensional analysis are about fluid dynamics, or transport phenomena, convection and heat transfer - arguably also sort of fluid ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the units or dimensions of the Dirac delta function?

In three dimensions, the Dirac delta function $\delta^3 (\textbf{r}) = \delta(x) \delta(y) \delta(z)$ is defined by the volume integral: $$\int_{\text{all space}} \delta^3 (\textbf{r}) \, dV = ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Why are radians more natural than any other angle unit?

I'm convinced that radians are, at the very least, the most convenient unit for angles in mathematics and physics. In addition to this I suspect that they are the most fundamentally natural unit for ...
3
votes
1answer
295 views

Question about units in Lagrangian dynamics (inertia matrix)

I have a 3 degree of freedom system and my equation of motion is like this: $$M(q)q_{dd} + C(q,q_d)q_d+G(q)~=~0$$ $M(q)$: inertia matrix $C(q,q_d)$: Coriolis-centrifugal matrix $G(q)$: potential ...
0
votes
1answer
914 views

Understanding units and the units of the derivative operator

Suppose that $f$ is a function from unit $A$ to $B$, then what is the unit of $f'(x)$?. We can do $f'(x)\Delta x$ to get an estimate of $f(x + \Delta x)$. Since the latter has unit $B$, so has the ...
-1
votes
3answers
98 views

Is it possible to be changed Energy Unit in future or it is strict reality in nature?

Could you pease tell me why energy unit must be $Energy=Mass . \frac{Distance^2} {Time^2}$? (I tried to write general form of Energy unit) What is the strong proof of that unit? Does it just depend ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

Working with atomic (?) units in solid state physics

I'm having some troubles understanding the units used in solid state physics paper. In the paper I read $\Lambda a \sim 1$ where $\Lambda$ is a momentum cutoff and $a$ is the lattice spacing of a ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

How to interpret the appearance of time units in the units of a physical quantity?

Or phrased more abstractly, how to interpret the appearance of time dimension $[time]$ in the dimension of a physical quantity? For example, the dimension of pressure is $[mass] [length]^{-1} ...
1
vote
3answers
613 views

What is the meaning of speed of light $c$ in $E=mc^2$?

$E=mc^2$ is the famous mass-energy equation of Albert Einstein. I know that it tells that mass can be converted to energy and vice versa. I know that $E$ is energy, $m$ is mass of a matter and $c$ is ...
11
votes
5answers
792 views

units and nature

I am wondering whether the five$^1$ units of the natural unit system really is dictated by nature, or invented to satisfy the limited mind of man? Is the number of linearly independent units a ...
2
votes
1answer
653 views

Question Concerning Dimensional Analysis

In the first lecture of MIT's Classical Mechanics Professor Lewin talks about Dimensional Analysis.He talks about an apple being dropped from a certain height can be quantitatively expressed as the ...
18
votes
11answers
5k views

What is the logarithm of a kilometer? Is it a dimensionless number?

In log-plots a quantity is plotted on a logarithmic scale. This got me thinking about what the logarithm of a unit actually is. Suppose I have something with length $L = 1 km$. $\lg L = \lg km$ It ...
8
votes
3answers
615 views

Understanding counterintuitive units like s^2

One of the things I never understood but was too afraid to ask is this: how should I think of things like kg/s^2. What exactly is a square second? Square foot makes sense to me because I can see it, ...