Lecture 12 Chapter 2 Units and Measurements

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas A. Edison

Lecture 12 Units and Measurement

Exercise 2.16 The unit of length convenient on the atomic scale is known as an angstrom and is denoted by Å: 1 Å = 10–10 m. The size of a hydrogen atom is about 0.5 Å. What is the total atomic volume in m3 of a mole of hydrogen atoms ?

Exercise 2.17 One mole of an ideal gas at standard temperature and pressure occupies 22.4 L (molar volume). What is the ratio of molar volume to the atomic volume of a mole of hydrogen ? (Take the size of hydrogen molecule to be about 1 Å). Why is this ratio so large ?

Exercise 2.18 Explain this common observation clearly : If you look out of the window of a fast moving train, the nearby trees, houses etc. seem to move rapidly in a direction opposite to the train’s motion, but the distant objects (hill tops, the Moon, the stars etc.) seem to be stationary. (In fact, since you are aware that you are moving, these distant objects seem to move with you).

Exercise 2.19 The principle of ‘parallax’ in section 2.3.1 is used in the determination of distances of very distant stars. The baseline AB is the line joining the Earth’s two locations six months apart in its orbit around the Sun. That is, the baseline is about the diameter of the Earth’s orbit ≈ 3 × 1011 m. However, even the nearest stars are so distant that with such a long baseline, they show parallax only of the order of 1” (second) of arc or so. A parsec is a convenient unit of length on the astronomical scale. It is the distance of an object that will show a parallax of 1” (second of arc) from opposite ends of a baseline equal to the distance from the Earth to the Sun. How much is a parsec in terms of metres ?

Exercise 2.20 The nearest star to our solar system is 4.29 light years away. How much is this distance in terms of parsecs? How much parallax would this star (named Alpha Centauri) show when viewed from two locations of the Earth six months apart in its orbit around the Sun ?

Exercise 2.21 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.

Exercise 2.22 Just as precise measurements are necessary in science, it is equally important to be able to make rough estimates of quantities using rudimentary ideas and common observations. Think of ways by which you can estimate the following (where an estimate is difficult to obtain, try to get an upper bound on the quantity) : (a) the total mass of rain-bearing clouds over India during the Monsoon (b) the mass of an elephant (c) the wind speed during a storm (d) the number of strands of hair on your head (e) the number of air molecules in your classroom.

Exercise 2.23 The Sun is a hot plasma (ionized matter) with its inner core at a temperature exceeding 107 K, and its outer surface at a temperature of about 6000 K. At these high temperatures, no substance remains in a solid or liquid phase. In what range do you expect the mass density of the Sun to be, in the range of densities of solids and liquids or gases ? Check if your guess is correct from the following data : mass of the Sun = 2.0 ×1030 kg, radius of the Sun = 7.0 × 108 m.

Exercise 2.24 When the planet Jupiter is at a distance of 824.7 million kilometers from the Earth, its angular diameter is measured to be 35.72″ of arc. Calculate the diameter of Jupiter.