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# PHYSICS 101AH: LESSON 1 INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS & SCIENTIFIC MEASUREMENTS

PHYSICS. The word “physics” (Latin, physics, or Greek, physis), means nature and Physics is the study of the laws that determine the structure of the universe with reference to the matter and energy. It is concerned not with the chemical changes that occur but with the forces that exists between objects and the interrelationship between matter and energy (Parker, 1994). There are six branches of Pgysics: (1) Mechanics: kinematics/ dynamics; (2) Heat & Thermodynamics; (3) Sound and Waves; (4) Light and Optics; (5) Electricity and Electromagnetism; and (6) Modern Physics. A measurement can be defined as number with attached units. The numerical value of a measurement should reflect the sensitivity of the measurement used to make the measurement. Consider a bathroom scale, which measurement is reasonable? 165.674 lbs or 166 lbs. An ‘exact measurement’ does not really exist because every instrument has some degree of uncertainty. An instrument reads only a finite number of digits that have meaning. Every measurement has some degree of uncertainty in the last decimal place. The last digit read with an instrument, with analog readout, is estimated. 1.1Methods: Direct and Indirect 1.2Quantities: Fundamental (Basic) and Derived Standards of Length, Mass and Time There are five basic quantities: • • • • • Length (L) Mass (M) Time (t) Electric current (I) Temperature (T)

1.3Units: Fundamental and Derived

1.4System of Units: English System (fps/fss system) and Metric System/ S.I. (mks/cgs system) In the first of the course we will only be concerned with length, mass, and time. • SI units (used mostly in physics): o o o Length: meter (m) Mass: kilogram (kg) Time: second (s)

This system is also referred to as the mks system for meter-kilogramsecond. • Gaussian Units (used mostly in physics/ chemistry): o o o Length: centimeter (cm) Mass: gram (g) Time: seconds (s)

This system is also referred to as the cgs system for centimeter-gramsecond. • British Engineering System: o o o Length: foot (ft) Mass: slug Time: second (s)

1.5Significant Figures: All Non-zero digits RULES FOR DETERMINING SIGNIFICANT DIGITS 1. Nonzero digits are always significant. 2. Leading zeros that appear at the start of a number are never significant because they act only to fix position of the decimal point in a number less than 1. 3. Confined zeros that appear between nonzero numbers are always significant. 4. Trailing zeros at the end of a number are significant only if the number contains a decimal point or contains an over-bar.

1.6Rules for Rounding Off 1. If the first non-significant digit is less than 5, drop it and the last significant digit remains the same. 2. If the first non-significant digit is more than 5 or is 5 followed by numbers other than zeros, drop the non-significant digit(s) in increase the last significant digit by 1. Hence, 47.26 and 47.252 are both equal to 47.3 (when rounded to 3 sig. figs) 3. If the first non-significant digit is 5 and is followed by zeros, drop the 5 and, a) increase the last significant digit by one if it is odd, or b) leave the significant digit the same if it is even. c. the new rule is hereby accepted too. That when the number to be dropped is exactly five, add immediately one to the preceding number. 4. Non-significant digits to the left of the decimal point are not discarded, but are replace by zeros. Thus 1781 becomes 1780 and not 178 when rounded to three significant figures. 1.7Rule for Addition and Subtraction The answer must not contain a smaller place than the number with the smallest place. 1.8Rule for Multiplication and Division The answer must not contain any more significant digits than the least number of significant digits in the numbers used in multiplication or division. 1.9A Special Rule: Exact Numbers Exact numbers are precisely know and can have as many significant digits as a calculation requires, so there are not used to determine the number of significant digits for the answer. 1.10 Exponential Notation

Form of mathematical expression in which a number is expressed as the product of two numbers, one a decimal and the other a power of 10. (1000 = 1 X 103) Scientific Notation Form of exponential notation in which the decimal part must have exactly one nonzero digit to the left of the decimal point; it is widely used by scientist. 1.11 Conversion and Equivalencies

Idea: Units can be treated as algebraic quantities. For example, we can use the conversion factor 1in = 2.54cm to rewrite 15 inches in centimeter. 15 in = 15 in (2.54 cm/ 1 in) = 38.1 cm Measuring Length • • • • • • The basic unit of measurement in Metric System is meter. On a ruler, the distance from one tick mark to the next is 1 millimeter Millimeters are used to measure very short lengths. There are 10 millimeters in a centimeter. For large distances, you would measure in kilometers. All metric units are related by units of tens.

Measuring Mass • • • • • • The basic metric unit of mass is gram There are 1000 grams in one kilogram The metric ton is used to measure very heavy objects The milligram is used to measure very light objects It is common outside the field of science to use weight to mean the same as mass. In Physics: Mass is different from weight. Mass is the measure of the amount of matter in an object. Weight is the force exerted by gravity on an object. A scale uses a spring to measure weight. A balance measures mass by comparing the force acting equally on both pans of a balance. Measuring capacity • • • • Capacity is the term used for measuring a liquid. The dictionary defines capacity as the amount of space that can be filled The liter is the basic unit of capacity in the metric system The milliliter is used to measure very small capacities

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The kiloliter is used to measure large capacities There are1000 liters in every kiloliter

Commonly used prefixes for powers of 10 used with metric units are given below: nano 10-9 micro 10-6 mili 10-3 n µ nm c n k M

centi 10-2 deci kilo 10-1 103

mega 106