This-essay is a7312153.htm which is available at the web-site www.essayz.com. See more notes at the bottom. Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay By-Months By-Years By-Words Webs of Like-&-Un-Like ESSAYS <==> Like-&-UN-Like This-One ========================================================== %UNITS OF MEASUREMENT 731215 Measurement is one of the most characteristic aspects of the work of the natural-scientist. Measurements are implicit in virtually all the work. The equations relate various different historical and/or possible measurements. Theories interrelate constellations of equations which refer implicitly to measurements. Sophisticated equipment is often thrust at students, and they are instructed as to what operations to perform to obtain certain measurements. However only rarely are students systematic-ally introduced to basic concepts of measurement and the developments of units in terms of which the results of measurements are communicated and inter-compared. Systematic measurement is not part of the typical student's life. It is true that students are trained to perform operations that yield conventional measurements to facilitate the functioning of the technocratic society: reading clocks, reading speedometers, reading tachometers, using a ruler, stepping on a set of scales and reading a dial, and a few other such processes. Yet, in none of these does the person really participate in the process of measurement in an experiment designed by self. Before a student can understand the equations of physics, the student must have internalized the process of measurement, the representation of the results of measurement and the symbolic manipulation of the results of measurement. Developmental stages are skipped only to fall in confusion or to regress. It is futile to ask students to abstractly manipulate generalized statements regarding the results of possible symbolic manipulation of the results of measurement --- without their first having actually designed, carried out, and concretely manipulated specific measurements which are specific instances of the types to which the generalized state- ments point. The equations of physics are statements regarding the approximate equality of the results of possible theoretically related measurements --and-- computation procedures. Unless students have participated in such theoretically related measurement--and-- computation procedures with insight, student consideration of abstract equations will be without insight. The rather universal confusion within the physics profession regarding units of measurement Points to the inadequate preparation which characterizes early training in physics and science in general. There is too little insight into the essential nature of scientific measurement and theoretical generalization. (c) 1999 by Paul A. Smith in GO: essayz.com "Search for Integrity and Honesty" (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================Lines beginning with a percent sign are KEYWORDS for use in ESSAY-System Searches. Their terminal digits are dates of writing in the format @yymmdd#, where @ = a means 99, @ = b means 20, and # = is a within-date essay-count. Links to date-adjacent essays are near page top & bottom.
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