Precise measurements of physical quantities are a need of science. For example, to ascertain the speed of an aircraft, one must have an accurate method to find its positions at closely separated instants of time. This was the actual motivation behind the discovery of radar in World War II. Think of different examples in modern science where precise measurements of length, time, mass etc. are needed. Also, wherever you can, give a quantitative idea of the precision needed.
It is indeed very true that precise measurements of physical quantities are essential for the development of science. For example, ultra-shot laser pulses (time interval ∼ 10–15 s) are used to measure time intervals in several physical and chemical processes.
X-ray spectroscopy is used to determine the inter-atomic separation or inter-planer spacing.
The development of mass spectrometer makes it possible to measure the mass of atoms precisely.
Extremely precise measurements are needed in modem science. As an example, while launching a satellite using a space launch rocket system we must measure time to a precision of 1 micro second. Again working with lasers we require length measurements to an angstrom unit (1 A° = 10-10m) or even a fraction of it. For estimating nuclear sizes we require a precision of 10-15 m. To measure atomic masses using mass spectrograph we require a precision of 10-30kg and so on.
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The relative density of lead is 11.3. Its density is ....g cm–3or . ...kg m–3.
The photograph of a house occupies an area of 1.75 cm2on a 35 mm slide. The slide is projected on to a screen, and the area of the house on the screen is 1.55 m2. What is the linear magnification of the projector-screen arrangement?
The length, breadth and thickness of a rectangular sheet of metal are 4.234 m, 1.005 m, and 2.01 cm respectively. Give the area and volume of the sheet to correct significant figures.
The mass of a box measured by a grocer’s balance is 2.300 kg. Two gold pieces of masses 20.15 g and 20.17 g are added to the box. What is (a) the total mass of the box, (b) the difference in the masses of the pieces to correct significant figures?
A man walking briskly in rain with speed v must slant his umbrella forward making an angle θ with the vertical. A student derives the following relation between θ and v: tan θ = v and checks that the relation has a correct limit: as v →0, θ → 0, as expected. (We are assuming there is no strong wind and that the rain falls vertically for a stationary man). Do you think this relation can be correct? If not, guess the correct relation.
- Significant Figures