FHSST Physics/Units/Choice

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The Free High School Science Texts: A Textbook for High School Students Studying Physics
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Units
PGCE Comments - TO DO LIST - Introduction - Unit Systems - The Importance of Units - Choice of Units - How to Change Units - How Units Can Help You - Temperature - Scientific Notation, Significant Figures, and Rounding - Conclusion

Choice of Units[edit]

There are no wrong units to use, but a clever choice of units can make a problem look simpler. The vast range of problems makes it impossible to use a single set of units for everything without making some problems look much more complicated than they should. We can't easily compare the mass of the sun and the mass of an electron, for instance. This is why astrophysicists and atomic physicists use different systems of units.

We won't ask you to choose between different unit systems. For your present purposes the SI system is perfectly sufficient. In some cases you may come across quantities expressed in units other than the standard SI units. You will then need to convert these quantities into the correct SI units. This is explained in the next section.