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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 ...
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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.
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3answers
565 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?
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1answer
142 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 ...
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2answers
364 views

Microsoft Excel not graphing $x = y^{1/2}$

The experiment was relating the period of one "bounce" when you hang a weight on a spring and let it bounce. I have this data here, one being mass and one being time. The time is an average of 5 ...
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1answer
713 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: ...
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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 ...
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5answers
6k views

What are distinguishable and indistinguishable particles in statistical mechanics?

What are distinguishable and indistinguishable particles in statistical mechanics? While learning different distributions in statistical mechanics I came across this doubt; Maxwell-Boltzmann ...
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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 ...
1
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2answers
264 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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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1answer
327 views

Coherency matrix of partially polarized light doesn't contain all information on polarization state?

The electric field of quasi-monochromatic, partially polarized light can be expressed by the following random process (Goodman, Statistical optics) ...
2
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2answers
295 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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1answer
256 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) ...
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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
790 views

Use of Monte-Carlo simulation in High-energy Physics

I've been doing some research into the analysis used in particle physics when determining the significance of a finding (e.g. the recent Higgs candidate was announced as a boson in the 125-126 ...
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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 $A(v)$ ...
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2answers
922 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 ...
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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
votes
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 ...
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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 ...
1
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0answers
91 views

Fitting of data to a model

Imagine that I have some observable value predicted with a theory for some process to be: $1+a x + b x^2$ and observed value is 1.3 with an error 0.2; a and b are some numerical constants. I also have ...
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1answer
207 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 ...
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2answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
765 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 ...
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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 ...
3
votes
2answers
365 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 ...
6
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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 ...
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3answers
548 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 ...
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2answers
97 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?
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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 ...
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5answers
549 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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2answers
670 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 ...
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1answer
407 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
14k views

How do you find the uncertainty of a weighted average?

The following is taken from a practice GRE question: Two experimental techniques determine the mass of an object to be $11\pm 1\, \mathrm{kg}$ and $10\pm 2\, \mathrm{kg}$. These two ...
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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 ...
4
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1answer
191 views

Products of Gaussian stochastic process variables

In the classic experimental physics text "Statistical Theory of Signal Detection" by Carl. W. Helstrom, Chapter II, section 4 concerns Gaussian Stochastic Processes. Such a process is observed at ...
8
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2answers
250 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 ...
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. ...
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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 ...
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2answers
4k views

How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years?

If a radioactive material takes a very long time to decay, how is its half life measured or calculated? Do we have to actually observe the radioactive material for a very long time to extrapolate its ...
1
vote
1answer
433 views

Metrology: What is precision for a measurement? [closed]

Is precision a "quality" of a measurement? Is there a better (accepted by the literature) word?