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Question
Hello:

I checked the mathematics category for an expert, but most of the better ones were unavailable.  I thought that perhaps a physics instructor may have an answer to my question regarding ratios.

When ratios are used, they are usually expressed as 1 to some number, for example, 1:72.  Could the reverse be used instead? For example, instead of 1:72 would 72:1 be the same or what would this indicate?

I thank you for whatever assistance you may offer!

Answer
There is no reason why a ratio would be 1:72 or 72:1.
For example, if a simple machine has a mechanical advantage of 1:4 that implies that a 1 pound input force would produce an output force of 4 pounds.
Use that machine in reverse and an input of 4 pounds would produce an output force of 1 pound 4:1.

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James J. Kovalcin

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I am teaching or have taught AP physics B and C [calculus based mechanics & electricity and magnetism] as well as Lab Physics for college bound students. I have a BS in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Arts in Teaching from same. I have been teaching physics for 34 years. I am constantly updating my skills and have a particular interest in modern physics topics.

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