2
votes
5answers
246 views

What's the difference between $10\%$ of $10\text{ cm}$ and $1\text{ cm}$?

I overhead a physics professor at my university on the phone: I interviewed that student you sent me, but he didn't know the difference between increasing the length of a $10\text{ cm}$ rod by ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

What can I say about compatibility between predictions and results?

If I have these theoretical predictions: \begin{align} \omega_{p_1} = 4.5132 \pm 0.0003~\text{rad/s} && \omega_{p_2} = 4.5145 \pm 0.0002~\text{rad/s}\\ \omega_{b_1} = 0.0707 \pm ...
9
votes
10answers
292 views

Could one measure a stick to an arbitrary precision by having its length estimated by enough people?

I remember reading somewhere that the problem of exact time-keeping on ships could have been solved a lot earlier than it was if somebody would have had the idea of keeping time with a whole array of ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Measuring a fluctuating quantity: Instrument error vs. uncertainty, or both?

Say I am measuring a quantity $x$ in physical system whose true value is approximately sinusoidal in time. I have an instrument to sample this quantity, for which the manufacturer gives an accuracy ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Weighted average whenever a variance is 0? [closed]

So I have data for the number of times a certain event happens. Each column is a different event and each row is one trial. A sample of data would look like \begin{bmatrix} 1& 4& 7& ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

Physics Standard Deviation

I am a physics enthusiast and I have a question: Why is it meaningless to express the '$\pm$' (standard deviation) value as a percentage?
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Time of Measurement Vs Number of Measurements

Let's say that an experiment has to determine the number of cosmic muon at sea level. The appropriate equipment is ready to measure the counting rate. I can think of two ways Count for 10 minutes, ...
-3
votes
1answer
77 views

How many measurements should be done? [closed]

I am measuring time of a computer operation. The operation should run roughly same time each time I measure it. How many times should I measure it to get good average and standard deviation?
5
votes
2answers
507 views

Averaging decibels

Wikipedia: The decibel (dB) is a logarithmic unit that indicates the ratio of a physical quantity (usually power or intensity) relative to a specified or implied reference level. If I ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

How to combine the error of two independent measurements of the same quantity?

I have measured $k_1$ and $k_2$ in two measurements and then I calculated $\Delta k_1$ and $\Delta k_2$. Now I want to calculate $k$ and $\Delta k$. $k$ is just the mean of $k_1$ and $k_2$. I thought ...
2
votes
1answer
575 views

Is $\sigma$ or $\sigma / \sqrt{N}$ is error of a measurement?

I wonder whether $\sigma$ or $\sigma / \sqrt{N}$ is error of a measurement. When I measure, say $0, 1, -1, 1, -1$, I have a $\sigma = 1$. I just measure $0, 1, -1$, I also have $\sigma = 1$. But in ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How to combine measurement error with statistic error

We have to measure a period of an oscillation. We are to take the time it takes for 50 oscillations multiple times. I know that I will have a $\Delta t = 0.1 \, \mathrm s$ because of my reaction ...
3
votes
2answers
197 views

Question about uncertainty

Are $3.43\pm 0.04$ $\frac{\mathrm{m}}{\mathrm{s}}$ and $3.48$ $\frac{\mathrm{m}}{\mathrm{s}}$ within expected range of values? The answer is yes, but I do not clearly see why this is so. I appreciate ...
3
votes
3answers
466 views

Calculating uncertainties for a final result

Say you are dividing 2 times with uncertainties: $$\frac{t_1}{t_2} ~=~ \frac{0.551s \pm 0.002s}{ 0.712s \pm 0.002s}.$$ After doing the calculations you get: $$\frac{t_1}{t_2} ~=~ 0.774 \pm ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

How to properly read a measurement result if it is a number?

If the result of a measurement is i.e. $3.2 \pm 0.7$, what is 0.7? At which confidence level we know that the real result is inside of this interval?
1
vote
5answers
370 views

Are Uncertainties in Measurements Important?

In the first lecture of MIT's Classical Mechanics Prof. Lewin highlights the importance of uncertainties in measurements by quoting "Any measurements, without the knowledge of uncertainty is ...