Frame of Reference - Key terms


Fixed; not dependent on anything else. The value of 10 is absolute, relating to unchanging numerical principles; on the other hand, the value of 10 dollars is relative, reflecting the economy, inflation, buying power, exchange rates with other currencies, etc.


The process of checking and correcting the performance of a measuring instrument or device against a commonly accepted standard.


A method of specifying coordinates in relation to an x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis. The system is named after the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650), who first described its principles, but it was developed greatly by French mathematician and philosopher Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665).


A number that serves as a measure for some characteristic or property. A coefficient may also be a factor against which other values are multiplied to provide a desired result.


A number or set of numbers used to specify the location of a point on a line, on a surface such as aplane, or in space.


The perspective of a subject in observing an object.


Something that is perceived or observed by a subject.


Dependent on something else for its value or for other identifyingqualities. The fact that the United States has a constitution is an absolute, but th efact that it was ratified in 1787 is relative: that date has meaning only within the Western calendar.


Something (usually a person) that perceives or observes an object and/or its behavior.


The horizontal line of reference for points in the Cartesian coordinatesystem.


The vertical line of reference for points in the Cartesian coordinate system.


In a three-dimensional version of the Cartesian coordinate system, the z-axis is the line of reference for points in the third dimension. Typically the x-axisequates to "width," the y-axis to "height," and the z-axis to "depth"—though in factlength, width, and height are all relative to the observer's frame of reference.

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