By Betty Richardson, Robert Richardson Alan Giambattista
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Extra resources for Physics, Second Edition
Applying Dimensional Analysis Dimensional analysis is good for more than just checking equations. In some cases, we can completely solve a problem—up to a dimen__ sionless factor like 1/(2p) or √ 3 —using dimensional analysis. To do this, first list all the relevant quantities on which the answer might depend. Then determine what combinations of them have the same dimensions as the answer for which we are looking. If only one such combination exists, then we have the answer, except for a possible dimensionless multiplicative constant.
2. Reread the problem one sentence at a time and draw a sketch or diagram to help you visualize what is happening. 3. Write down and organize the given information. Some of the information can be written in labels on the diagram. Be sure that the labels are unambiguous. Identify in the diagram the object, the position, the instant of time, or the time interval to which the quantity applies. Sometimes information might be usefully written in a table beside the diagram. Look at the wording of the problem again for information that is implied or stated indirectly.
11/13/08 5:04:20 AM Confirming Pages 2 CHAPTER 1 Introduction Concepts & Skills to Review • algebra, geometry, and trigonometry (Appendix A) • To the Student: How to Succeed in Your Physics Class (p. 1 WHY STUDY PHYSICS? Physics is the branch of science that describes matter, energy, space, and time at the most fundamental level. Whether you are planning to study biology, architecture, medicine, music, chemistry, or art, some principles of physics are relevant to your field. Physicists look for patterns in the physical phenomena that occur in the universe.