Herong's Notes on Physics - Version 3.21, by Dr. Herong Yang
What Is Coordinate System
This section provides an introduction of coordinate system, which is a mathematical model associated with a frame of reference that converts every location in the frame into set of numeric value or values.
What Is a Coordinate System? A coordinate system is a mathematical model associated with a frame of reference that converts every location in the frame into a set of numeric value or values.
For example, to describe the location of the mercury surface level in a thermometer, we can use a frame of reference using 2 specific mercury surface levels:
Then we can create a coordinate system for this frame of reference as below:
Now we can describe any location of the mercury surface level using a numeric number. For example, if you put the thermometer in air conditioned room, the mercury surface level may stays at the 20th scale location, this location can be described now as 20 degrees.
You can create multiple coordinate systems for a single frame of reference. In that case, the same location will be described with different numbers in different coordinate systems.
For example, there are 3 coordinate systems exist today to describe a temperature: the Celsius system, the Fahrenheit system and the Kelvin system. The freezing point is described as 3 different numbers:
Last update: 2014.
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