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Cultural differerences in physics

  1. Jan 1, 2004 #1
    I have been thinking if there are any differences in the way physics are done depending in where you are in the world. I don't think that in any place stuff would fall up. But I am curious if there are differences in how certain constants are defined or named, depending on where you are.
    I am at the moment a student of physics at the university of Vienna, and thinking about doing a semester or two as an exchange student. So I am curious on what difficulties, could arise coming from the different ways physics are taught.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2004 #2
    Well some people use metric measurements and others use imperial ones for a start.....

    Also, symbols.. eg frequency is f in some places, v in others, and this is just one of many. However, these are just units and symbols. No matter what language you use to describe it, the Physics remains the same.
  4. Jan 1, 2004 #3
    I know that the physic stays the same.

    But on using imperial units, does that have any advantage? Aren't there all kinds of transformation factors arising then in calculations? I don't have much experience using imperial units, but from what I know like that a feet is 12 inches. So it seems to be rather absurd using them...
  5. Jan 1, 2004 #4


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    From what I can see in my science classes at least, all American scientists use metric as well. It's just the American public that uses the Imperial system. So if you're planning on becoming an exchange student, you don't need to worry much about mastering the Imperial system, which is quite absurd (WHen venturing outside of the scientific community though, especially when traveling around the US, then it might be important to learn about at least a few Imperial measurements, like the pound, inch, foot, and mile). It's an outdated tradition that Americans are too lazy to relinquish, especially considering how labourous it is to convert between measurements, especially when it gets down to units such as the slug.

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2004
  6. Jan 1, 2004 #5


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    All physicists use SI units of measuremnt (plus a few others) these days, no scientist uses imperial mesurements anymore, though I wouldn't rule out the odd few using the US standard system for some measuremnts.
  7. Jan 1, 2004 #6
    I'm sure you all remember the http://marsweb.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/news/mco991110.html [Broken] incident...

    I'm American and not even a physicist but I cringe when I see imperial units used in a physics problem. It's easy to convert but it's much simpler just to use metric units.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  8. Jan 1, 2004 #7
    Releaving to hear that...

    Are there any difference in the way mathematics used?
    From school to college, it changed a lot. Since now we are writing formulas as differential equations, and using a lot more of vector maths to explain things ...
    However, I can't think of any way of doing it differently ...
  9. Jan 1, 2004 #8


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    I believe that mathematics is the same in America as everywhere else. However, it may be taught in a slightly different way in America.
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