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Solutions1 - Physics 208 Assignment 1 Solutions RT General...

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Physics 208, Assignment 1, Solutions, 1/26/09, RT General Suggestions for Problem Solutions and Lab Reports Organize your work neatly. Use brief but complete sentences, often including one or more (displayed) equations. An equation is itself a complete sentence. Just a sequence of valid equations can make a lengthy word explana- tion unnecessary. Collect numerical data from the problem statement in an organized list, usually converting them to SI units. Also copy figure from prob- lem. Introduce unknowns ( x , y , etc.) only sparingly and, when you do, give a clear word definition of what they stand for. Express equations using algebraic symbols, deferring numerical cal- culations to the end. Significant figures: numerical values exceeding, say, three place accu- racy, are rarely justified. Significant figures are especially important in lab reports. A number such as 5.1 suggests you trust your mea- sured value to something like 1 percent accuracy—bigger than 5.05, smaller than 5.15. For big (or little) numbers use scientific or com- puter scientific notation, e.g. 5 . 1 × 10 3 or 5.1e3 rather than 51000. Check dimensional consistency. It helps, in complicated formulas, to group factors in dimensionless ratios, e.g. ( mv 2 ) / ( mgh ). Final answers must include units. Intermediate results need not include units provided the units are S.I.
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