Can you give reasons as to why decimal system is a more convenient system? I got this in the chapter Units and Dimensions.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it is not a question about physics $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Apr 16 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ Number of fingers humans have ? It is not a more convenient system if you're a computer programmer, so this depends on what you need a system for. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Apr 16 at 22:34

The decimal system is conveniant in conversion of magnitudes. In a positional system it is easy to multiply and divide in factors of ten and ten itself is easy enough to conceptualise. This fact is used in the SI system where there is a system of prefixes that indicate these scale factors. For example, $k$ for kilo and which means multiplying by a factor of a thousand and $m$ for milli and which means dividing by a thousand.

Nevertheless, other units are often more conveniant in certain subfields. For example, in fundamental physics we use natural units.

What is conveniant often depends upon use. For example, in early Babylonian astronomy a sixty base system was used. This is because sixty, unlike ten, has lots of factors. The factors of ten are just 1, 2 & 5. Whilst the factors of sixty are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 20 & 30. The reason why this was conveniant is that we can express fractions of an hour easily. If the hour was based on the base ten then we can divide an hour only into three parts easily, but in base sixty we can divide it into ten parts easily. It's because fractions were difficult to deal with then whereas integers were much more conveniant.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.