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5answers
546 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 ...
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1answer
124 views

What is a long-tailed distribution for physicists?

What is the most common definition of long tailed distribution for physicists? I am looking for definition and examples. Examples should have arguments why the distribution is or is not long tailed. ...
0
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2answers
76 views

Has anyone studied a statistical scaling law for the universe? [closed]

How do named objects in the universe scale? Is there a predictable curve for an ordered list, say {atom, animal, planet, solar system, galaxy, etc}? Can you then use the analysis to predict when the ...
1
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1answer
86 views

Initial separation of neutron star/black hole binaries?

How would I go about finding the distribution of initial separations (i.e. the lengths between the centres of mass) of stars that make up binary systems. I am interested in neutron stars and stellar ...
2
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2answers
10k views

Physical interpretation of y-intercept in a Current vs Voltage graph

So I collected current and voltage data from a simple circuit with a power source and a resistor, using a multimeter. I created a graph for this data using excel and got the y-intercept (which is ...
2
votes
1answer
512 views

Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity PDF to CDF [closed]

I asked on Math.SE and was advised to try here instead. I need to draw from a Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution to initialise a molecular dynamics simulation. I have the PDF but I'm having ...
1
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0answers
93 views

Pareto efficiency and Standard Model parameters

Pareto Efficiency is a well understood concept in economics, which basically is a condition where no one actor could be made better off without some one being made worse off. This condition allows ...
2
votes
0answers
307 views

Probability and probability amplitude [duplicate]

What made scientists believe that we should calculate probability $P$ as the $P = \left|\psi\right|^2$ in quantum mechanics? Was it the double slit experiment? How? Is there anywhere in the ...
0
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1answer
66 views

Statistical error in a regression

I measured some voltage values ($x$) and some corresponding frequencies ($y$). I know that the voltage can only be measured within an uncertainty $\Delta x$. And the uncertainty of $y$ shall be ...
5
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2answers
483 views

statistics for photon counts in photomultiplier

It seems that a common statistical model for the count numbers of a photomultiplier is a Poisson distribution whose parameter $\lambda$ equals to the square-root of the number of counts.(e.g. ...
1
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4answers
2k views

Statistics in physics

What are the uses of statistics in physics? I am about to embark upon a study of statistics and I would like to know what the particular benefits I gain in physics.
2
votes
1answer
141 views

Peak deconvolution [closed]

I need some help understanding how much information I can pull out of this data. I have a sample made up of two materials. Materials A and material B. Then I took a picture of the sample. The two ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
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0answers
38 views

Half-Life Question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years? I understand how to calculate decay, but it seems to me that the ...
1
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2answers
262 views

What is the Schechter luminosity function's domain of support?

I'm trying to fit a Schechter luminosity function to some data points, but it's not clear from this definition what the domain of support of the PDF should be. I'm familiar with the standard Pareto ...
3
votes
3answers
564 views

How to compute the expectation value $\langle x^2 \rangle$ in quantum mechanics?

$$\langle x^2 \rangle = \int_{-\infty}^\infty x^2 |\psi(x)|^2 \text d x$$ What is the meaning of $|\psi(x)|^2$? Does that just mean one has to multiply the wave function with itself?
1
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1answer
162 views

How to interpret a negative failure rate?

In statistical engineering the "hazard rate" of a distribution is defined as: $$r(x)=\frac{f(x)}{1-F(x)}$$ where $f(x)$ and $F(x)$ are the PDF and CDF. Basically $r(x)$ is the odds that, having ...
-1
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1answer
705 views

Fitting of exponential data gives me a constant function [closed]

I conducted an experiment, where a capacitor is discharged over a (big) resistor for $t$ seconds and then the remaining charge is measured with a ballistic galvanometer. The data I have is: ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

What is the relation of the release time of fossil fuel emissions to climate change? [closed]

This question presupposes that The amount of fossil fuels on earth is limited Mankind will burn all of its fossil fuels eventually Based on these presuppositions, the total amount of CO2 released ...
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0answers
421 views

Intensity of the diffraction pattern of the double slit

I am trying another approach for my last unanswered question. (Bounty still on for 3 days. Anyone? Please?) Note that this is not the same question but a greatly simplified version concerning a much ...
2
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1answer
255 views

How do you determine the degree of localization of a wavefunction?

Suppose that there is a wavefunction $\Psi (x,0)$ where 0 is referring to $t$. Let us also say that $a(k) = \frac{C\alpha}{\sqrt{\pi}}\exp(-\alpha^2k^2)$ is the spectral contents (spectral amplitudes) ...
4
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2answers
668 views

What do “local” and “global” mean when talking about standard deviations in experimental particle physics?

I found the following sentence: The excess is most compatible with a SM Higgs hypothesis in the vicinity of 124 GeV and below, but the statistical significance (2.6σ local and 1.9σ global after ...
2
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2answers
293 views

Wave Function Statistical Interpretation vs Oscillation Interpretation

Can the wave function solution to Schrodinger's Equation be interpreted as an oscillation between all possible measurements (obviously with some type of weighting that would describe the shape of the ...
2
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0answers
108 views

Randomly sampling a “well-mixed” solution of Brownian particles

I place $N$ Brownian particles in $V$ liters of solution, shake until I assume that the particles are "well-mixed", and sample and randomly sample an $S$ liter volume. What is the probability ...
1
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2answers
345 views

How to decide convergence of the ensemble average in a Monte Carlo process

I am simulating electromagnetic scattering off a rough surface. The usual process is to do a Monte Carlo simulation, which is briefly described as follows. Generate a randomly rough surface, and ...
2
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2answers
283 views

Average Neighbouring Impurity Separation in a Random 1D chain [closed]

I have a finite and discrete 1D chain (edit: linear chain, i.e. a straight line) of atoms, with unit separation, with a set number of impurities randomly distributed in the place of these atoms in ...
1
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1answer
100 views

Computing an average escape distance for a particle

Somewhere in a two dimensional convex bulk of particles (pic related) on a random position a reaction takes place and a particle is sent out in a random direction with a constant velocity $v$. What ...
0
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2answers
82 views

What is the minimal set of expectation values I need in a statistical model?

At least if $\vec v$ is really only a one dimensional parameter, measuring all the moments $\langle v^n \rangle_f$ seems to give me all the information to compute $\langle A \rangle_f$ with $A(v)$ ...
3
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2answers
921 views

Combining multiple theories with 5 $\sigma$ confidence level

Sadly I am not a physicist but I am interested in the topic. Please have mercy with me if you find my question trivial or dumb. Here it comes: As far I understand physicist express their certainty ...
1
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0answers
118 views

polynomial fit and uncertainty [closed]

I am trying to fit a polynomial function by least square method and I want to know the uncertainty on my fitting parameters. In which book can I find a clear answer?
4
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3answers
293 views

why the difference between $\langle \hat p^2 \rangle_{\psi}$ and $\langle \hat p \rangle_{\psi}^2$ is NOT zero?

Well, the difference between the two expressions $\langle \hat p^2 \rangle_{\psi}$ and $\langle \hat p \rangle_{\psi}^2$ is exactly $\Delta p^2$ , i.e. the squared uncertainty (variance) of the ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

Lacking of scale and distribution moments

Given a physical random variable x, $E(x)$ and $E((x-<x>)^2)$ defines mean and variance. From a statistical point of view variance represents the statistic error (isn't it?). If variance is not ...
0
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1answer
205 views

The discrepancy between the two values in units of sigmas?

Assuming gaussian error distributions, how to calculate the discrepancy between the two values in units of sigmas?
1
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1answer
119 views

Variance of Nested Experimental Uncertainty

I have to find the uncertainty of a quantity $Q$ doing two mean values. For example for a set of parameters I measure ten times $Q$, I obtain a mean value $Q_1$ and variance ${\rm Var}(Q_1)$. Then for ...
3
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2answers
294 views

Relating the power to weather variables [closed]

Could you please help me in this problem? I have 3 independent variables, (T,H,t) , as inputs and one output P ( I have all data for these inputs and the output, done experimentally measured every ...
5
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1answer
3k views

Is there a stable numerical algorithm for FWHM that isn't 2.35*sigma?

This is a question that should have a simple answer, but which I can find no proper discussion of in the literature or on the internet. I start from the assumption that I have a noisy numerical ...
3
votes
1answer
762 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 ...
3
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2answers
361 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 ...
9
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3answers
5k 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 ...
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0answers
187 views

What statistical test should I use?

I have two differential cross sections $d\sigma_{1,2}/dM$ ($M$ is some invariant mass) corresponding to different hypothesis. What I want is to calculate how well the appropriate experiment would do ...
3
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3answers
547 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 ...
2
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3answers
89 views

Statistics software for basic undergrad lab

I'll have to perform some simple experiments, like measuring the period and damping of a pendulum, focal length of a lens, … As a result I will end up with some X, Y data points and need to calculate ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the meaning of negative accuracy for measurements of physical quantities?

What's the meaning of negative accuracy for measurements of physical quantities? Can measured values of a physical quantity ever have a negative accuracy? I read some materials about accuracy and am ...
5
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1answer
406 views

Finding coefficient of proportionality

Recently in my AP Physics class I did a lab in which I measured k for a spring by setting up an oscillating system with it, and timing the period, repeating for different masses. Since ...
0
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2answers
138 views

More data points or more averages?

Perhaps an elementary questions. Given a time limited measurement situation, would it be better for one to measure more averages or more data points? More averages will increase the SNR by ...
1
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2answers
516 views

How do derive this result in stat-mech style

I'm going through (well, at least I'm planning to) Rief's book about statistical mechanic (I want to improve my knowledge). I want to be serious about this so I'm trying to solve as much problem as I ...
5
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6answers
1k views

Why don't experimental physics groups have statisticians in it?

Perhaps someone can clear up a bit a cognitive dissonance I am experiencing. Pollsters are under constant scrutiny of statisticians for even the most mundane of survey topics. With so much riding on ...
9
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1answer
3k views

Standard Deviation in Particle Physics

I'm familiar with sigma, and how its usually calculated and used, but would like to know how it's applied to particle physics. I recall reading that the discovery of the Higgs would only be credible ...
5
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2answers
460 views

Photon statistics of an incandescent light source

We usually calibrate the cameras on our microscopes by capturing 20 images of a blurry (not sharp) fluorescent particle. For each pixel in this stack of 20 images we calculate the intensity variance. ...
8
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2answers
248 views

How to predict how much data to collect

The same question on CrossValidated Apologies if I'm being a bit vague in what follows, I've been asked to keep certain aspects of the experiment confidential for the time being. An analogous ...