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Chapter 1: Measurement

SI Base Units

Physical Quantity Name of Unit Abbreviation

Mass Kilogram kg

Length Meter m

Time Second s

Electric current Ampere A

Temperature Kelvin K

Luminous intensity Candela cd

Amount of Mole mol

Prefixes used in the metric system

Prefix Symbol Unit Scientific

mega- M 1,000,000.0 10^6
kilo- k 1,000.0 10^3
hecto- h 100.0 10^2
deka- da 10.0 10^1
meter (base) m 1.0 10^0
deci- d 0.1 10^-1
centi- c 0.01 10^-2
milli- m 0.001 10^-3
micro- μ 0.000001 10^-6
Metric Conversions using Dimensional

The key to using dimensional analysis is the

correct use of conversion factors

What is a conversion factor?

A conversion factor is a fraction whose

numerator and denominator are the same
quantity expressed in different units
Example of a conversion factor:
Inches to centimeters

2.45cm 1.0in
1.0in 2.45cm

Both the numerator and the denominator

are expressing the same quantity of length
using different units
When using conversion factors, we want the
given units to cancel
Then we end up with the desired units

 Desired 
Given     Desired Unit
 Given 
Example: Using conversion factors, convert
6.25 inches to centimeters
Step 1: Use our inches-to-centimeters
conversion factor
Question: Which one do we use?

1.0in 2.54cm
2.54cm 1.0in

Answer: We want the desired unit in the
numerator of the conversion factor

Step 2: Set up the calculation like this

 2.54cm 
6.25in    15.875cm
 1.0in 
The inch units cancel, and we are left with
centimeters, our desired unit
Let’s use conversion factors to express 2.6
meters as millimeters:

Here are the conversion factors we need:

10dm 10cm 10mm

1m 1dm 1cm
Always set up your calculations so that given
units cancel, and you get the desired units at
the end

 10dm   10cm   10mm 

2.6m      2600mm
1m  1dm  1cm 
     

 1cm   1dm   1m 
2.6mm      0.0026m
10 mm  10cm  10dm 
     
Scientific Method
Science is a process of inquiry that includes
repeatable observations and testable

This process blends two main types of

reasoning: Inductive reasoning and
hypothetico-deductive reasoning

Most scientists practice a combination of

The word science is derived from a Latin verb
meaning “to know”
Science and Induction

Scientific investigation can lead to important

conclusions based on a type of logic called
inductive reasoning

An inductive conclusion is a generalization

that summarizes many concurrent

Observation General Principle

Example: All the swans at Lake Mead are
white in color
All the swans at Lake Powell are white in
All the swans at Lake Michigan are white in
All the swans at Lake Okeechobee are white
in color

Argument: Therefore, all swans are white

This is inductive reasoning: The argument that
all swans are white is a generalization made
from many specific observations

Observation General Principle

There is a big problem with this argument:

What is it?
If someone finds a black swan at another lake
somewhere, our argument, or theory, is no
longer valid
Hypothetico-Deductive Science

Hypothetico = hypothesis-generating
Deduction = Another form of logic

Recall: A hypothesis is a tentative answer to

some question

Deductive logic differs from inductive logic

When using deductive logic, we go from the
general to the specific
Deductive logic differs from inductive logic

When using deductive logic, we go from

general premises to specific conclusions

Who is this guy?

This is Socrates, and we’ll use him in an
example of deductive logic
All men are mortal
Socrates is a man
Therefore, Socrates is mortal
All organisms are composed of tiny cells
Socrates is an organism
Therefore, Socrates is composed of tiny cells
General Premises Specific
In the process of science, the deduction usually
takes the form of predictions about what the
outcomes of our experiments or observations
should be

We then test the hypothesis by performing an

experiment to see whether or not the results
are as predicted
As a formal process of inquiry, the
scientific method consists of a
series of steps.
Most science is far less structured
than presented here.

The key element here is the

use of hypothetico-
deductive reasoning.
My flashlight doesn’t work

What’s wrong with my

The batteries are dead

If I my hypothesis is

…and I replace the


My flashlight should work!

But what if my flashlight still doesn’t work?

We can always generate alternative
hypotheses and test them in the same

Alternative hypotheses:
The bulb is burned out…
The contacts are corroded…
The on-off switch is broken…
The point here is that any one of these
hypotheses can be tested according to the
scientific method
It is also important to note that all these
hypotheses are falsifiable under the scientific
Remember our theory about the swans:
according to the scientific method we look for
evidence that disproves our theory
One black swan can disprove our theory that
all swans are white

In order to test a hypothesis we must design a

suitable experiment
When performing our experiment, we must
look for results relating to our hypothesis

These results will either support or not support

our hypothesis
I want to conduct an experiment to identify
essential nutrients required in plants

I will use plants grown hydroponically (in water

rather than soil)

One group of plants will grow in an aqueous

solution of complete nutrients

Another group of plants will grow in a solution

lacking one nutrient
Hydroponic Farming
Our plants growing in a complete nutrient
solution is called the control group

Our plants growing in a solution missing one

nutrient is called the experimental group

The control group allows us to compare with

the experimental group

If the missing nutrient has an effect on the

experimental plants, their appearance should
be different than the control group plants
What about the variables?

For our experiment to succeed, we must

identify all of the variables

One variable is the growth response of the

plants in the incomplete nutrient solution

Another variable is the difference in the

experimental nutrient solution
The incomplete nutrient solution is the variable
that we, as investigators, are manipulating

We call this variable the independent variable

We will measure the effect of the independent

variable on the growth of the plants

The response of the plants to the altered

nutrient solution is called the dependent
We call the response of the plants the
dependent variable because the magnitude of
the response “depends” on how we
manipulate the independent variable
Homework: Due Next Class

Worksheet on using dimensional analysis

Prepare your hypothesis for you science fair
Study for test next class:
Check homework page on Friday for study