Updates for the constants fragments

A customer recently pointed out that constants don't necessarily remain constant.  NIST has published updated values for many constants, including many that were not included with SW.  See the NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty, and in particular the ASCII listing of fundamental physical constants which was the source document for creating the fragments discussed below.

The attached file is a .zip archive of the new values as SW fragments.  Probably the easiest way to use the attachment is to create a new directory below the Frags directory where SW is installed and extract the contents of the .zip file to the new directory.  This will then give you access to both the old and new constant fragments.

There were 105 constant fragments included with SW.  The updated constants consists of 325 fragments.  An unresolved issue is the naming of the fragments.  Some of the current fragment names are wider than what fits in the fragments pop up list.  Even worse, there is no difference in the names of some fragments until the name is outside the width of the pop up.  So, any suggestions for name changes or other ways to organize these fragments are welcome.

Also, any other comments concerning fragments are welcome.


ConstantsNIST.zip54.18 KB
rtlines's picture

 I tried a couple of things.

 I tried a couple of things. I renamed the fragments so the names were shorter. That helped, but really was hard to do unless I got specific to a discipline (e.g. epsilon_not for the electric constant as used in physics). I tried subdirectories by discipline. That helped some.  Really, though, what would make sense to me would be to be able to float the cursor over the fragment and have the full name appear in a tooltip.  This probably requires a change to the SWP software, but ultimately I think it would be the most helpful thing for me.

baylis's picture

It is great to have the

It is great to have the latest constants from NIST, but the large number of them may impede their use. Many involve conversion factors or expressions of one constant in terms of different units that can be readily calulated in SW. The NIST factors may in some cases provide an additional significant digit, but that will usually not be important for SW users. You may want to make the full package available as an add-on, but for most users, a basic set of constants plus an ability to specify units is all that's usually needed. That would also resolve much of the problem with long names, although some obvious abbreviations would still be useful to speed recognition.

tomprice's picture

    George,     I added the

    I added the fragments to my installation; I see what you mean about the number of constants! I use subfolders to help orgainze these. For example, I created a subfolder named "atomic unit" under the "Constants" folder and then placed all the atomic unit fragments in this folder with a shortend name (atomic unit of change -> change). This is similar to the way you placed the "Transitions" folder under the "Beamer" folder.
    I think the dialog box under File > Import Fragment is easier to use (and more familiar) than the popup list; the popup list is so long. Perhaps you could add an "Import fragment" button similar to the "Import picture" button.

Thanks for your comments. Be

Thanks for your comments.

Be aware that there is a bug that when you use File, Import Fragment the fragment directory is updated (remembered) but this also changes the directory used for the pop up list of fragments.  The fragments directory can be changed by again using File, Import Fragment or by using Tools, User Setup, and from the Files tab change the Fragments directory.