filling in the unspecified details of elegant-sounding descriptions of experimental methods.

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21
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4answers
14k views

How do astronomers measure the distance to a star or other celestial object?

How do scientists measure the distance between objects in space? For example, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Double Slit Experiment: How do scientists ensure that there's only one photon?

Many documentaries regarding the double slit experiment state that they only send a single photon through the slit. How is that achieved and can it really be ensured that it is a single photon?
4
votes
1answer
157 views

How do we perform transverse measurements in a two level system?

In quantum mechanics any two level system can be mapped onto effective spin variables. If the system is defined by two energy levels, $|E_1\rangle$ and $|E_2\rangle$, the Hamiltonian is $$ H = \left(\...
3
votes
2answers
321 views

What is the highest accuracy of measuring time differences achievable today?

I was wondering if it would be possible to shorten the distance between detectors when measuring the speed of neutrinos to, say, 7m rather than the current ~700km? In this way the distance traveled ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Multiple measurements of the same quantity - combining uncertainties

I have a number of measurements of the same quantity (in this case, the speed of sound in a material). Each of these measurements has their own uncertainty. $$ v_{1} \pm \Delta v_{1} $$ $$ v_{2} \pm \...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How to determine whether a large container is air-tight?

In constructing a kitchen-waste digester at home, I use a 50 Litre HDPE drum. The base of the drum is holed with a plug fitted to allow drainage when necessary. The top has two openings - one for ...
11
votes
3answers
319 views

Measuring the effective mass

Intro: To avoid any terminology confusion, this is asked in the context of Solid State Physics and semiconductors. The canonical definition given for the effective mass is that it is related to the ...
9
votes
2answers
981 views

Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

Recently I have been looking up James Joule's experiment regarding the mechanical equivalent of heat. After viewing some drawings of the apparatus, I assumed that the lines holding the weights would ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Strategies against 50 Hz mains hum on detector signals?

I'm having problems with a strong 50 Hz mains hum on signals created by photodetectors. I assume that they are due to ground loops and I realize that the best option would be to remove those. What are ...
3
votes
1answer
337 views

What algorithms are used for track reconstruction in cloud chambers?

In particular I'm interested in any algorithms that can separate multiple tracks from one another reliably.
0
votes
1answer
816 views

Calculational method for determining surface tensions from photograph of menisci?

How can I get from a photograph of a liquid surface to a value for the surface tension.