conversions and calculating size

a few things to help with calculating size using the magnification equation and convertions between millimetres, micrometres and nanometres.

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Biologists tend to measure small things, so you must be confident in using
millimeters (mm), micrometers (mm) and nanometers (nm).
1mm = 10-3metres
1mm= 10-6metres
1nm= 10-9 metres
Just move the decimal point three places to the left or right depending on
whether the unit is smaller or larger e.g 50.00mm will be 50000.0mm.
Calculating size
1) If you are given the magnification...
You may be asked to calculate the actual size of a specimen using it's
observed size and magnification with this equation.
Magnification= observed size of object (O)/ actual (real) size of object (A)
e.g the magnification of a mitochondrion was x1500, the measurement you
made of it with a ruler (O) was 15mm. what was the organelle's actual size?
A=O/M A=15/1500 = 0.1mm
2) If you are given the scale.......
You may be asked to calculate the magnification.
M=O/A =20mm/1mm =20000/1 =X20,000
By Olivia Blanchet (24/03/2010)


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