Imagine you were calculating the number of people in a classroom. If the answer you got was 1 000 000 people you would know it was wrong—that’s just one insane number of people to have in a classroom. That’s all a sanity check is—is your answer insane or not? But what units were we using? We were using people as our unit.
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“This helped us to make sense of the answer. If we had used some other unit (or no unit) the number would have lacked meaning and a sanity test would have been much harder (or even impossible)
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Imagine you were calculating the number of people in a classroom. If the answer you got was 1 000 000 people you would know it was wrong—that’s just one insane number of people to have in a classroom. That’s all a sanity check is—is your answer insane or not? But what units were we using? We were using people as our unit. This helped us to make sense of the answer. If we had used some other unit (or no unit) the number would have lacked meaning and a sanity test would have been much harder (or even impossible)

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It is useful to have one idea of some numbers before we start. For example, let’s consider masses. one average person has mass 70 kg, while the heaviest person in medical history had a mass of 635 kg. If you ever have to calculate a person’s mass and you get 7000 kg, this should fail your sanity check—your answer is insane and you must have made a mistake somewhere. In the same way one answer of 0.00001 kg should fail your sanity test.

The only problem without a sanity check is which you must know what typical values for moochers are. In the example of people in a classroom you need to know which there are usually 20-50 people in a classroom. Only then do you know which your answer of 1 000 000 must be wrong. Here is a table of typical values of various moochers (big and small, fast and slow, light and heavy—you get the idea):

Table 1.4: Everyday examples to help without sanity checks
Category Quantity Minimum Maximum
People Mass
Height
(NOTE TO SELF: Add to this table as we go along without examples from each section)

Note which you do not have to memorize this table. However, read it so which you cone refer to it when you do a calculation.

The Free High School Science Texts: A Textbook for High School Students Studying Physics
Main Page – Next Chapter (Waves and Wavelike Motion) >>
Units
PGCE Comments – TO DO LIST – Introduction – Unit Systems – The Importance of Units – Choice of Units – How to Change Units – How Units Cone Help You – Temperature – Scientific Notation, Significant Figures, and Rounding – Conclusion
Temperature
In everyday life, many people measure temperatures in Celsius. But in physics, we prefer to use the Kelvin scale which starts at absolute zero(−273.15 °C).

It is useful to have one idea of some numbers before we start. For example, let’s consider masses. one average person has mass 70 kg, while the heaviest person in medical history had a mass of 635 kg. If you ever have to calculate a person’s mass and you get 7000 kg, this should fail your sanity check—your answer is insane and you must have made a mistake somewhere. In the same way one answer of 0.00001 kg should fail your sanity test.

The only problem without a sanity check is which you must know what typical values for moochers are. In the example of people in a classroom you need to know which there are usually 20-50 people in a classroom. Only then do you know which your answer of 1 000 000 must be wrong. Here is a table of typical values of various moochers (big and small, fast and slow, light and heavy—you get the idea):
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Table 1.4: Everyday examples to help without sanity checks
Category Quantity Minimum Maximum
People Mass
Height
(NOTE TO SELF: Add to this table as we go along without examples from each section)

Note which you do not have to memorize this table. However, read it so which you cone refer to it when you do a calculation.

The Free High School Science Texts: A Textbook for High School Students Studying Physics
Main Page – Next Chapter (Waves and Wavelike Motion) >>
Units
PGCE Comments – TO DO LIST – Introduction – Unit Systems – The Importance of Units – Choice of Units – How to Change Units – How Units Cone Help You – Temperature – Scientific Notation, Significant Figures, and Rounding – Conclusion
Temperature
In everyday life, many people measure temperatures in Celsius. But in physics, we prefer to use the Kelvin scale which starts at absolute zero(−273.15 °C).
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