Dimensional analysis

Get inspired:

The fact that all quantities in the universe carry dimensions (such as length, time, mass, temperature, and so forth) seems mundane, but it is actually incredibly powerful. In 1945, the United States detonated its first atomic bomb in the Trinity test at White Sands, New Mexico. The explosive power of the bomb was a closely guarded government secret, but a physicist named G.I. Taylor was able to figure it out from looking at pictures of the blast using dimensional analysis. This made the U.S. government very surprised. And unhappy.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Explain the difference between dimensions and units – [notes]
  • Recognize primary dimensions and formulate derived dimensions – [notes]
  • Apply dimensional compatibility and homogeneity – [notes]
  • Perform dimensional analysis using the Buckingham Pi Theorem – [notes]

Before class, please:

  • Read excerpt from Giordano et al. (IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU READ THIS CAREFULLY AND FULLY).
  • Read my notes above.
  • Watch (some videos) – [movie] [movie]
  • CheckYourself.

In class, we will:

After class, please:

  • Do post-class problems.