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Mathematics for science and technology
Mathematics for science and technology

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Week 2: Measurements


In the UK, two systems of units are in use. Imperial measures for some things: milk is sold in pints and signposts indicate distances in miles. But for many other everyday measurements metric units have been adopted: petrol in litres and sugar in kilogram bags. However, this is, generally, not the case in science. In 1960 an international conference formally approved a standard set of scientific units, thus replacing at a stroke the many different systems of measurement that had been used up until then by scientists of different nationalities. This ‘universal’ system for scientific measurement is referred to as SI units (short for Système International d’Unités). The SI forms the basis for this week’s study.

By the end of this week you will have:

  • gained an understanding of SI units and prefixes
  • identified the order of magnitude of a value
  • started to gain an understanding of logarithms
  • considered the precision of measurements
  • gained an understanding of rounding using significant figures.