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PHYS_2014_Handout_1 - PHYS2014 Benton Fall 2010 OSU Physics...

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PHYS2014 Fall 2010 Benton OSU Physics Dept. 1 Information Useful in Solving Physics Problems 1. Greek Alphabet (in case you forget what those strange-looking characters are.) lower case upper case Letter lower case upper case Letter α Α Alpha ν Ν Nu β Β Beta ξ Ξ Xi γ Γ Gamma ο Ο Omicron δ Delta π Π Pi ε Ε Epsilon ρ Ρ Rho ζ Ζ Zeta σ Σ Sigma η Η Eta τ Τ Tau θ Θ Theta υ Υ Upsilon ι Ι Iota φ Φ Phi κ Κ Kappa Χ χ Chi λ Λ Lambda ψ Ψ Psi µ Μ Mu ω Omega 2. Units of Measure There are three different systems of units that are commonly used in science and engineering. The first two belong to what is usually referred to as the metric system, while the last system consists of the English system used throughout the U.S. a) Systéme International (SI) units—formerly referred to as MKS (meter-kilogram-second): this is the unit system most commonly used in science and the when that we will primarily use in this course. b) cgs (centimeter-gram-second) units: This unit system is still used in some particular branches of science (e.g. astronomy, nuclear physics) and is often seen in older textbooks. c) English units (foot-pound-second): this unit system is used mainly in the United States, though it is seldom used in science, because the difficulties inherent in converting between different quantities using this system. Many American engineers still use the English system. There are three fundamental units in each unit system that relate to the three fundamental quantities in physics: length, mass, and time. In the SI unit system, the three fundamental units of measure are: concepts are measured in units of: a) time (t): seconds (s) b) length (l): meter (m), and c) mass (M): kilogram (kg).
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