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Physics and Astronomy Writing - Part II


Physics and Astronomy Writing - Part II Physics 695 2011 Some material courtesy of Dr. William Wing, Phys. Dept., U. of Arizona Dr. Celia Elliott, Physics Dept., U ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Physics and Astronomy Writing - Part II

Physics and Astronomy Writing - Part II
  • Physics 695
  • 2011
  • Some material courtesy of
  • Dr. William Wing, Phys. Dept., U. of Arizona
  • Dr. Celia Elliott, Physics Dept., U. of Illinois
  • Chem. Eng. Dept., Texas Tech.

Style Manuals
  • AIP style manual (4th edition)
  • http//
  • IEEE Style Manual
  • http//
  • SFSU Thesis Guidelines
  • http//
    ne.pdf(Can use AIP or IEEE style with special
    intro pages)

Capitalization Notation k (kilo), as in kV, kW,
kA, kg, keV, is always written in lower
case. Elements not capitalized when written as
words (oxygen, lead, vanadium) Abbreviations for
chemical elements are capitalized (O, Pb, V, Cf,
Am, Cm). Same rules for units, e.g., curie
(Ci), watt (W), volt (V), joule (J), tesla
(T). Proper noun used as an adjective is
capitalized, e.g., Poissons equation, Fourier
transformation, Monte Carlo method. However, if
the proper noun is used to name an entirely new
class of things, the resulting new things are
treated as common nouns and are not capitalized.
Thus, we have Fermi energy level and Fermi-Dirac
statistics, but fermions and fermium.
Capitalization in Astronomy
  • Capitalize
  • Planet names Moon names
  • Star names
  • Constellation names
  • Galaxy names

Acronyms and Abbreviations Common nouns not
capitalized when written as words only acronyms
capitalized, e.g., very large scale integration
(VLSI), ballistic core radius (BCR),
superconducting quantum interference device
(SQUID). Proper nouns are capitalized, e.g.,
National Science Foundation (NSF). Some common
acronyms not capitalized, e.g., alternating
current (ac), direct current (dc), electromotive
force (emf), radio frequency (rf). Acronyms and
abbreviations must be defined at their first
usage. Apostrophe not used to make acronym or
abbreviation pluraljust add lower-case s, e.g.,
AFMs (atomic force microscopes), Eqs.
(equations). Do not begin sentence with an
acronym, abbreviation, numeral, or symbol.
Wrong Fig. 1 shows TEM was used
a-particle transport occurs 50 samples were
prepared Right Figure 1 shows Tunneling
electron microscopy was used Alpha-particle
transport occurs Fifty samples were prepared

  • Nuclides and Their States
  • Mass number (anterior superscript) 235U
  • State of ionization (posterior superscript) Ca2
  • Excited state (posterior superscript) 110Agm,
  • Number of atoms in a molecule (posterior
    subscript) 14N2
  • Numbers and Numerals
  • Write cardinal numbers zero through nine and
    ordinal numbers first through ninth in words.
  • Use numerals for cardinal numbers 10 and
    greater and ordinal numbers 10th and greater.
  • Always write quantities as numerals that have
    been measured or calculated (rather than
  • 10 liters 1.75 inches 6 kg 2.4 ms
  • Fractional numbers written as decimals must have
    a zero preceding the decimal point, e.g., 0.17

Numbers that begin a sentence are always written
as words thus, a sentence that begins with a
quantity that was measured or calculated must be
recast. For clarity, adjacent numbers should be
written in a combination of numerals and
words fifteen 10-mg doses twelve 20-percent
doped samples 15 one-dose oral vaccines 6
six-hour runs Qualifiers (about,
approximately, of order of) should not be
used with exact numbers e.g., not
Approximately 17 of the samples were
contaminated with iron filings.
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SI Derived Units Frequency hertz Hz 1/s
Force newton N m kg/s2 Pressure, stress
pascal Pa N/m2 kg/m s2 Energy, work,
quantity of heat joule J N m m2 kg/s2
Power, radiant flux watt W J/s m2 kg/s3
Quantity of electricity, electric charge
coulomb C s A Electric potential volt V
W/A m2 kg/s3 A Capacitance farad F C/V
s4 A2/m2 kg
Electric resistance ohm ? V/A m2 kg/s3 A2
Conductance siemens S A/V s3 A2/m2 kg
Magnetic flux weber Wb V s m2 kg/s2 A
Magnetic flux density, magnetic induction
tesla T Wb/m2 kg/s2 A Inductance henry H
Wb/A m2 kg/s2 A2 Luminous flux lumen lm
cd sr Illuminance lux lx lm/m2 cd sr/m2
Activity (ionizing radiation) becquerel Bq
1/s Absorbed dose gray Gy J/kg m2/s2
Dynamic viscosity pascal second Pa s kg/m s
Moment of force (torque) newton meter N m m2
kg/s2 Surface tension newton per meter N/m
kg/s2 Heat flux density, irradiance watt per
square meter W/m2 kg/s3 Heat capacity,
entropy joule per kelvin J/K m2 kg/s2 K
Specific heat capacity, specific entropy joule
per kilogram kelvin J/kg K m2/s2 K Specific
energy joule per kilogram J/kg m2/s2 Thermal
conductivity watt per meter kelvin W/m K m
kg/s3 K Energy density joule per cubic meter
J/m3 kg/m s2 Electric field strength volt per
meter V/m m kg/s3 A
Electric charge density coulomb per cubic
meter C/m3 s A/m3 Electric displacement,
electric flux density coulomb per square meter
C/m2 s A/m2 Permittivity farad per meter F/m
s4 A2/m3 kg Permeability henry per meter H/m
m kg/s2 A2 Molar energy joule per mole J/mol
m2 kg/s2 mol Molar entropy, molar heat
capacity joule per mole kelvin J/mol K m2
kg/s2 K mol Exposure (ionizing radiations)
coulomb per kilogram C/kg s A/kg Absorbed
dose rate gray per second Gy/s m2/s3
Only metric prefixes for 106 or more have
upper-case abbreviation (e.g., M 106, G
109, etc.). In particular, note that the prefix
m indicates 10-3 and M indicates 106. The
abbreviation for "kilohertz" is "kHz" only the
"H" is upper case. Note that the proper
abbreviation for "second" is "s", not "sec".
The same abbreviation is used for the singular
and plural form of a unit. A period is not
placed after an abbreviated unit, unless it is at
the end of the sentence. Spaces with
units There should always be one blank space
between a number and a unit "5 kHz", not
"5kHz" There is no space between the metric
prefix and the base unit.
Some Problem Expressions The signal generator
had a 15 kHz frequency. Units of measurement are
nouns cannot use to modify another noun. Proper
phrasing The signal generator had a frequency
of 15 kHz. 6 cm long The proper phrasing
could be 6 cm in length the length is 6
cm having a length of 6 cm Choose metric
prefix that will make the numerical value between
0.1 and 1000. However, values of a parameter in
a table should have the same metric prefix.Do
not use metric prefixes when using scientific
notation e.g., "4 x 105 m/s", not "4 x 102
km/s". Never use a double metric prefix.
Proper abbreviations for "alternating current,
direct current, and root-mean-square" are lower
case "ac, dc, rms". However, if the term appears
in a title or as first letter in a sentence, use
upper case "AC, DC, RMS".
Less water feed will be vaporized due to heat
losses and this affects steam economy While
trying to read the mass flow rate of air to the
engine, the rubber hose from the venturi to the
manometer melted shut. After obtaining results
for the infrared spectrometer and comparing it to
the predicted calculations, we concluded there
was a problem.
The way to improve your grades is to take good
class notes, to study effectively, and preparing
carefully for exams. The type of failure can be
determined by a tensile test. For example,
whether the failure was due to a ductile or
brittle fracture. The difference for the two
methods of obtaining the heat transfer
coefficient was 52 and the measured values were
10 and 20 lower than the theory predicted
respectively. And we see that the experimental
result agrees well with theory. But this is not
the final solution.
Ways to use equations with text. Refer to the
equation number in a sentence the equation is a
separate sentence. For example The voltage,
V, and current, I, in a resistor are related by
Eq. 3. V I R (3) Often more elegant to
include equation in sentence The power, P,
dissipated in a device is given by P I V
                  (4) where I is the current
in the device and V is the voltage across the
device. For the special case of a resistor, the
relation between voltage and current, Eq. 3, can
be used to express the power as a function of
only voltage P V2/R.              
(5) Notice the period at the end of Eq. 5, since
it is the end of a sentence.
Note how equations are always punctuated, with a
full stop or a comma as appropriate. The
equation should read as part of the text
although displayed. It would be very rare for
there to be any other form of punctuation. Here
is an example of an equation that can be
punctuated with a full stop
Another equation follows, which is punctuated
with a comma
because there is text following it, just as if
it were part of a sentence, which it is.
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Vectors, Tensors, Matrices
  • Vectors
  • Boldface Italic Fields E and B
  • Arrows Fields and
  • Tensors
  • sans-serif bold italic, T
  • Matrices
  • boldface italic, A
  • Statement of Experimental Results
  • Our value was
  • kB1.3790.012 x 10-23 J/K
  • at a 95 confidence level.
  • Note format
  • Uncertainty quoted to two significant
    figures(never more sometimes only one)
  • Result in proper scientific notation uncertainty
    maintains same decimal place

Software for Physicists Astronomers
  • Scientific Word Processing
  • MS Word Equation Editor Scientific Word
    LaTex/MikTeX LyX
  • Slide Presentation
  • MS PowerpointEquation Editor
  • TeX or LyX with Beamer document class
  • Poster Presentation
  • Large Powerpoint print or TeX/Beamer print
  • Symbolic Math (Algebra, integrals,...)
  • Mathematica

  • Numerical Calculations, Plotting, Curve Fit
  • Astronomy Data Analysis
  • IRAF (Image Reduction and Analysis Facility)
  • Computer Data Acquisition
  • LabView MATLAB Inst. Control Data Acq.
  • Programming
  • Electronic Schematics ( Simulation)
  • PSPICE (Simulation Prog. for Integrated Cir.
    Elx)(Free version of PSPICE 9 available on web)
  • Mechanical Drawing (CAD)
  • AutoCAD, TurboCAD(Free version of TurboCAD LE
    available on web)

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