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Physics Core Concept Cheat Sheet

01: Introduction to Physics

Key Physics Terms Significant Figures
• Physics: Study of the physical world. Science of energy Significant figure rules are used so that everyone that reads
• Metric System: System of measurement based on data or results understands to what precision data was
multiples of 10. recorded.
• SI System: Systeme International d’Unites (Internation
system of units). Only figures that were actually measured are significant.
• Uncertainty: The last digit in a measurement is
uncertain—each person may see it slightly differently when Summary of rules for counting significant figures:
reading the measurement. 1. If there is a decimal point anywhere in the
• Significant Figures: Digits that were actually measured number: Start with the first non-zero number and
and have physical significance. (Also called “significant count all digits until the end.
digits”) 2. If there is not a decimal point in the number:
Start with the first non-zero number and count
Metric System until the last non-zero number
The metric system uses prefixes to indicate multiples of 10
Metric Prefixes commonly used in chemistry 10.020 g Æ Rule #1 Æ 10.020 Æ 5 significant figures
Prefix Symbol Multiple 0.00240 L Æ Rule #1 Æ 0.00240 Æ 3 significant figures
Kilo k 1000 1250 mL Æ Rule #2 Æ 1250 Æ 3 signficant figures
Deci d 0.1 10200 mg Æ Rule #2 Æ 10200 Æ 3 signficiant figures
Centi c 0.01
Milli m 0.001
Fundamental Constants
Micro µ 0.000001
Nano n 0.000000001 Fundamental constants commonly used in
The “base unit” is when there’s no prefix. chemistry
Name Symbol Constant
To determine the equivalent in “base units”: Avogadro’s # NA 6.02 X 1023 mol-1
1. Use prefix to determine multiple Speed of light c 3.0 X 108 m/s
2. Multiply number by the multiple Gas constant R 8.31 L * kPa
3. Write the result with the base unit mole * K
0.0821 L * atm
Examples: mole * K
1.25 mL Æ “milli” means 0.001 Æ 0.00125 L Planck’s constant h 6.63 × 10-34 J·s
87.5 kg Æ “kilo” means 1000 Æ 87500 g
Charge of electron e 1.6 × 10-19 C
SI System Atomic mass unit µ 1.66 × 10-24 g
The SI sytem gives the fundamental unit for each type of Std Temp & STP 273.15 K & 1 atm
measurement Pressure
Scientific Processes
SI Units commonly used in chemistry
Measurement Unit Symbol Although there is not one “scientific method,” there are
aspects that are common to scientific investigations:
Mass Kilogram kg
• Observations
Volume Liter L
• Questioning
Temperature Kelvin K
• Hypothesis formation
Length Meters m • Experimentation
Time Seconds s • Trend recognition
Amount of Mole Mol • Conclusion formation
substance • Communication and validation of results
Energy Joule J • Model formation
Charge Coulomb C
How to Study Physics
Non-SI Units commonly used in chemistry • Memorize basic information to speed up problem-solving
Measurement Unit Symbol later.
Length Anstrom Å • Try to learn vocabulary quickly so you’re familiar with it
Pressure Atmosphere Atm when you see it.
Kilopascal kPa
Energy Calorie cal • Brush up on algebra—don’t try to memorize every variation
of an equation!
Temperature Celcius °C
• Look for commonalities between different problems—many
different types of problems are similar than they appear.
Measurements & Uncertainty
• Break each problem down into steps—always identify the
Most commonly used instruments for given information and where you’re headed.
measurements in chemistry
Quantity Instrument • Try to understand why behavior occurs & look for pattersns.
Mass Balance • Connect new concepts to previously learned concepts.
Volume Graduated cylinder • Keep up with the work—don’t let yourself fall behind.
Temperature Thermometer
• Ask for help when you need it!
How to Use This Cheat Sheet: These are the keys related this topic. Try to read through it carefully twice then recite it out on a
blank sheet of paper. Review it again before the exams.

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