Dimensional Analysis, 2013

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Lectures at the Refresher Course in Statistical Mechanics, Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education, November 2013.

Dimensional Analysis, 2013

The course

This course was addressed to teachers of physics. It advanced one answer to the question of how to get the heart of a new subject as quickly as possible. The particular answer involved dimensional arguments as the core technique.

Dimensional analysis was introduced in the first two lectures using some examples. It was shown how dimensional analysis simplifies problems and allows discovery of new phenomena.

In the next two lectures Gauss' approach to measurements and units was introduced, and was applied to developing natural units. Examples of standard physics were analysed using these techniques.

In the final two lectures we discussed asymptotic scaling and the breaking of scaling using the example of Rayleigh-Benard convection and fractals respectively. The notion of breaking of scaling was then applied to critical phenomena.


Reference books and articles

These books are good sources of problems which illustrate the kinds of methods which we will discuss. Other problems will be constructed from observations and more general reading.

Copyright: Sourendu Gupta; Last modified on 19 Oct, 2017.