Math Review For Physics


It is extremely essential in physics to usage a standard set of systems in all calculations so that we deserve to comment on coherent outcomes. Predictions from theories or experimental outcomes would make no sense unmuch less uniform units are provided throughout the calculations. Magnitudes of measurement can be compared much even more conveniently if devices are known. Density of materials, brightness of light, loudness of sound or size of a string; everything should have certain units of measurement.

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There various sets of units such as MKS (meter-kilogram-seconds) systems or CGS (centimeter-gram-seconds) devices.

In physics, it is traditionally welcomed to use S.I.units (Système International d’Unités).

S.I. units is based on MKS units system. It is likewise well-known as the Metric system.

Tright here are seven basic devices in the SI mechanism and all other devices are acquired from assorted combicountries of these basic units.

The SI mechanism of systems is based on powers of 10. We use specific prefixes to signify powers of 10 (Eg Kilo, centi, milli, and so on.)

i. The 7 basic units

Meter – Meter is the unit of length, distance or displacement. It is officially identified as the distance took a trip by light in vacuum in 1/299792458th of a 2nd.

Sometimes as soon as a meter is as well small or huge, units such as kilometers or centimeters are provided rexpectively. The presolve ‘Kilo’ and also ‘Centi’ will certainly be defined in the following area.

Kilogram – kilogram is the unit for mass. (be cautious, kilogram is not a unit for weight. Weight is the pressure proficient by a mass because of the gravitational pull of a planet. )Seconds – secs is the unit for time. 60secs = 1minute and 60minutes = 1hour.Ampere – Ampere is the unit for measuring electrical existing.Candela – candela is the unit for measuring luminous intensity or in less complicated words the brightness of light.Kelvin – this is the unit for measuring thermodynamic temperature. Although Celsius and also Fahrenheit are even more generally used, in physics we usage kelvin.Mole – mole is the measurement of amount of substance in numbers. It steps the number of elementary entities of a substance.

ii. Derived units

Lot of other various measurement are compelled to be made in physics. The systems for such measurements can be derived from various combinations of the basic devices. For eg:

Velocity: velocity is displacement per unit time. So the unit is meter per second (m/s)Acceleration – acceleration is change is velocity per unit time. So the unit is meter per second per second or meter per second squared. So (m/s)/s I.e. m/s²Force – the unit of pressure is Newton. 1 Newton = 1 Kg × 1 m/s²

Prefixes (powers of 10):

Sometimes these units are too tiny or also big. For Eg. When meter is too little we usage kilometer. Instead of saying 6000m (or 6 × 10³ m) we say 6 Km. Hence we watch the predeal with Kilo provided to denote an increase by a variable of 1000 or 10³

Similarly the prefix centi is offered to denote department by a factor of 10² . So 6 cm = 6 × 10-2 m

Following are the prefix that are generally used to represent multiplication by powers of 10.


Convariation of units

i. Convariation of standard systems through various prefix

Say we desire to transform a 6,230 m to Km. From the table of preresolve we know that 1 Km = 1 × 10³ m.

If we divide both sides by 10³ we get,

(1/10³) Km = (1 × 10³/10³) m

So, 10-3 Km = 1 m

If, 1 m = 10-3 Km

Then, 6,230 m = 6,230 × 10-3 km=6.230 Km

Although convariation appears easy, one need to follow these steps and be cautious so as to not make mistakes during calculations.

ii. Convariation of derived units

When we are converting acquired systems, we need to convert all the concerned systems independently. We will usage an instance to familiarize through it.Eg: convert 20m/s to km/hr. We must transform meter to Km in numerator and also secs to hour in denominator.

So 20 m = 20 × 10-3Km .

Now 1 hr=60 min

And 1 min = 60 sec

So 1 hr = 60 min = 60 x 60 sec = 3600 sec

So 1 sec = (1/3600) hr

20 m/s = 20 x 10-3 Km/(1/3600) hr

So, 20 m/s = 0.02 x 3600 Km/hr = 72 Km/hr

Monumental Figures

Significant numbers are those digits in any kind of measurement or calculations which are known via some level of certainty. The number of considerable digits in any kind of measurement present the exactness of the results.

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i. Measuring through significant figures

To recognize the variety of significant numbers in our measurement information we should continue as follows:

Write dvery own as many kind of digits you deserve to from the measurement through absolute certainty. For eg. If you have a range through marmajesties for eexceptionally cm, then you deserve to measure the size to accurately upto a cm.


Or as we have the right to view in this photo tright here are 10 maremperors for eincredibly cm so we deserve to meacertain via certainty of 0.1cm


This beaker has marqueens for every 10ml. So we have the right to meacertain through certainity for 10 ml, 20 ml, 30 ml or so on.

Next we take a guess at reading one more digit.

For eg. in the beaker we know for specific tbelow is 30ml. Next off we take a guess, whether its 35ml or 36ml according to our best judgment.

This resulting worth is the quantity in substantial figures.

ii. Reading substantial figures

We need to save in mind the following rules to read the number of substantial digits in a measurement :

All non-zero digits are significantAll the digits in between 2 non-zero digits are significantZeroes to the appropriate of the considerable digits are significantZeroes to the left of significant digits are not significant

Examples: Lets see how many significant digits the adhering to numbers have:

3200 Kg

So 3 and 2 are non-zero digits and also for this reason significant. Tbelow are 2 zeroes on the right of considerable digits and also therefore are also considerable. Hence tright here are 4 significant digits.

0.302 m

3 and 2 are non zero and also for this reason significant. There is a zero in between the two considerable digits and for this reason is additionally substantial. But tbelow is a zero to the left of three, so this zero is not substantial. Thus tbelow are just 3 considerable digits.


4,9 and also 6 being non-zero are significant. Tbelow are two zeroes and both of them are in in between 2 significant figures. Thus both zeroes are substantial. So we have actually 5 considerable digits in this number.

Scientific notation

Scientific notation (also described as standard create or traditional index form) is a method of expressing numbers that are as well huge or too tiny to be conveniently created in decimal create.

i. Why scientific notation

Measurements vary largely in magnitude. The length of a desk could be simply a meter, the radius of string could be 0.1mm while the distance in between two communities could be in hundreds of Km.

If we were to express all of them in them in similar units, it would become extremely inconvenient unless we use clinical notations.

Eg. 4.20 x 10-6 m is much less complicated to comprehfinish than 0.00000420 m

ii. How to create scientific notations

To write down dimensions in scientific notations follow these steps:

Sjust how your measurement worth in correct number of significant figures. Move your decimal point so that just one substantial digit is to the left of the decimal pointMultiply this number through the proper power of 10.

iii. Addition/Subtraction

Before including or subtracting numbers created in clinical notation, make sure they are converted to the very same powers of 10.

iv. Exercise

Write in scientific notation: 0.000782

Ans: 7.82 × 10-4

Expush 5.62 x 105 as a number

Ans: 562000

Add 2.98 × 104 + 9.1 × 107

Ans: Convert 2.98 × 104 to power of 7.

So it becomes 0.00298 × 107.

Now include 0.00298 × 107 +9.1 × 107 = 9.10298 × 107

Accuracy and precision

i. Accuracy

Accuracy refers to the closeness of a measured value to a traditional or recognized value

ii. Precision

Precision describes the closeness of 2 or more measurements to each other

A useful means to understand the difference is via instance of error while shooting at a target


If all the shots hit the intended target then its both precise and preciseIf namong the shots hit the exact same spot, then they are not specific. But If they all hit very cshed to the targain then they are still exact,If they all hit fairly far amethod from the target, but all the shots hit practically the very same spot, then they are not accurate however they are exact.If they hit far amethod from intended taracquire and also are scattered away from each other, then they are neither accurate nor exact.

Accuracy and precision are independent of each various other. Accuracy is associated through observational error while precision is associated via random error.

For even more information check out our AP Physics 1 & 2 course more topics such as Math Review and Friction.