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Homework Help: Citing a source for a value in a lab report

  1. Nov 30, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I wasn't sure what section to post this in, but for my honors lab, i need to cite sources on values or theories that i include in my lab report like normal. Yet i'm having trouble finding a decent source for the speed of light and the index of refraction of air.

    I thought to use that nist experiment laboratory, but i have not luck in finding said values.

    I do have the

    Symbols, Units, Nomenclature and fundamental constants in physics, 1987 revision which has the speed of light stated in it, but i'm not sure if the source is to old and unfortunately it's written in such a way that i'm not sure how to cite it.

    I would really appreciate some help in finding up to date and quality sources for the index of refraction of air and the speed of light.

    thanks in advance :)

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2011 #2


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    Really? I just Googled "NIST physical constants", and then on the page that was the first Google hit, I selected "Universal" from the list of available categories.


    I hope this helps you in future searches for such things.
  4. Nov 30, 2011 #3
    lol i found that 2 minutes after i posted this thread, but i'm still having no luck finding a source for the index of refraction of air. Which i did not find on the site that you posted.
  5. Nov 30, 2011 #4


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    I suppose it depends on how rigourous a source you want. My optics textbook has a table of refractive indices of various substances, although it does not say where it got them from.

    You'll see copies of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (a huge tome) in most laboratories, and so I thought to look it up there:


    The book definitely has the info, but I guess ordinary users don't have access to the online version of the book. I'm able to access it when I connect via my University proxy server. See if you can do the same or if you can find a physical copy of the book lying around.
  6. Dec 2, 2011 #5
    Precisely the book i managed to find buried in my lab. It is a great source
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