Chapter 1 - Objectives and Summary
for the OUP text Senior Physics - Concepts in Context by Walding, Rapkins and
Knowledge & Understanding
- List the SI standard quantities together with their symbols, units and abbreviations.
- Distinguish between a basic quantity and a derived quantity.
- Convert from one unit to another.
- List and classify the possible sources of errors encountered when making a measurement.
- Find systematic and random errors. Calculate the error in an experiment.
- Convert from exponential to decimal and vice versa.
- Arrange a set of numbers in order of magnitude.
- Use significant figures in calculations.
- State simple error combination rules.
- Read linear, vernier and micrometer scales.
- Estimate length, time, mass and number.
- Determine the error in the value of pi by experiment.
- Collect and analyse primary data by experiment.
- Locate and comprehend relevant information from secondary data sources.
CHAPTER 1 SUMMARY
- Early measurements were based on body or heavenly features and differed from country to
- There is an international system of units called SI which is most commonly used around
the world and by scientists.
- Measurable features or properties of objects are often called physical quantities. All
physical quantities should be quoted with their numerical value and their unit.
- Fundamental quantities (or base quantities) are those which are used to define all other
quantities (derived quantities).
- All measurements include errors or uncertainties, either systematic or random.
- Powers of 10 are called exponential notation. Scientific notation includes exponents in
the form M x 10n, where M is a number having a single non-zero digit to the
left of the decimal point and n is a positive or negative exponent.
- The order of magnitude is the power of 10 closest to to the number.
- Significant figures are those digits in a number that are known with certainty plus the
first digit that is uncertain.
- Instruments used in measuring length include the ruler, the micrometer and the vernier
calliper. Rotational speeds can be measured with a xenon stroboscope but there can be
- Digital measurements in the on/off form can be taken with simple counters or computer
- Ideal measuring devices have no effect on the measurement itself.
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