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Questions tagged [data-analysis]

Use for question relating the the techniques of data analysis.

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85
votes
5answers
10k views

How exactly do you avoid fooling yourself?

In cargo cult science Feynman writes: "Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It's a ...
64
votes
4answers
7k views

How do we know the LHC results are robust?

Nature article on reproducibility in science. According to that article, a (surprisingly) large number of experiments aren't reproducible, or at least there have been failed attempted reproductions. ...
34
votes
10answers
8k views

Easy to perform quantitative experiments at home [closed]

What are some easy to perform physics experiments that can be done at home (with not too much special equipment) and that allow to actually measure/plot data and draw conclusions from it? My son is ...
18
votes
3answers
33k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Did the researchers at Fermilab find a fifth force?

Please consider the publication Invariant Mass Distribution of Jet Pairs Produced in Association with a W boson in $p\bar{p}$ Collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 1.96$ TeV by the CDF-Collaboration, already ...
15
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5answers
3k views

Is there any advantage in stacking multiple images vs a single long exposure?

Suppose I have a source object that is not time varying, to be concrete let's say it's a galaxy. Is there anything additional that can be learned or done with multiple short exposure images of exactly ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Which areas in physics overlap with those of social network theory for the analysis of the graphs?

I am studying social networks in terms of graph theory and linear algebra. I know that physicists have published and worked a lot in this field. This causes me to assume that there are sub-fields in ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

How do scientists determine when to disregard a model that has a higher correlation to data than another model?

For any set of data points, you can comprise a 100% correlated and fitted curve using a sum of sloped lines all multiplied by their respective Heaviside step functions to form a zig-zag shaped curve. ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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 GeV/$c^{...
13
votes
1answer
548 views

Statistical analysis of data in Physics

Analysis of data is integral in bridging the gap between theory and experiment. How much do the results of the analysis depend upon the choice between Bayesian and frequentist methods? For instance, ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Plotting the CMB power spectrum - Why $C_\ell \ell (\ell+1)$ rather than only $C_\ell$?

I can't find any convincing answer for the following question : Why do we always (or often) plot the CMB power spectrum in this way? I mean the vertical axis is $C_\ell \ell (\ell+1)$ and not only $...
11
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7answers
1k views

When to average in the lab for indirect measurements?

I am measuring distance and time to calculate the velocity. I repeat the experiment 10 times. What is better, to first calculate the average of distance and time and then the velocity, or to calculate ...
10
votes
1answer
180 views

How does the “Look Else Where Effect” affect the chances of detecting a false diphoton excess at the LHC?

Back in December 2015, there was found a 750 GeV diphoton excess in both CMS and ATLAS at the same location with a significance well above $3\sigma$; a 0.13% chance of being false. However, there ...
10
votes
2answers
359 views

Converting impact speed to pressure magnitude

In explosive safety and stability testing, a drop test is commonly used to determine the sensitivity to impact. In the test, an impactor of known mass is dropped. The initial height varies throughout ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is meant by “combinatorial background” in experimental high energy physics

My guess is that they find a certain tracks coming from a certain source by "combinatorially" selecting all track pairs and finding their invariant mass. If this is true, of which I am not sure, how ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Does a muon detector on Earth's surface correctly measure the mean lifetime of a muon?

Just a simple question. Does a muon detector on Earth's surface correctly measure the mean lifetime of a muon? I would think the answer is no because most muons detected are created about 15 km above ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Arrhenius Fit: Linear or exponential form?

I have a seemingly easy question about performing an Arrhenius fit to the equation $$y = A \times \exp \left( -\frac{E_A}{RT} \right)$$ I can either fit this in the exponential form using a non-...
8
votes
2answers
291 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
247 views

Textbook about the handiwork of a HEP analysis?

I'm wondering if there is a textbook that describes the handiwork of a particle physics analysis. There are a bunch of books about theory, about the experimental aspects like detectors, and about ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I fit a resonance curve?

In an experiment, I collected data points $ (ω,υ(ω))$ that are modeled by the equation: $$ υ(ω)=\frac{ωC}{\sqrt{(ω^2-ω_0^2)^2+γ^2ω^2}} \,.$$ How can do I fit the data to the above correlation? And ...
7
votes
1answer
216 views

How are Raw Observations Processed to Obtain Pure CMB Data?

I'm confused about how they identify and subtract radiation from unwanted astronomical sources while measuring the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. Here's what I initially guessed: The dipole ...
6
votes
6answers
10k views

How to guess the correct fitting function to some data?

Imagine we are plotting some date points $\left(x_i,f(x_i)\right)$ that we obtained experimentally, and that we want to know what $f(x)$ is. The way to do this is to use some software and try to fit ...
6
votes
1answer
496 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 $T=2\pi\sqrt{\...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What does it mean to “bin” in a spectroscopy context

In the following online article http://www.star.le.ac.uk/~sav2/stats/a.html I see the word "bin" used, in relation to x-ray spectroscopy, both as a verb and as a noun (people both "bin" things and ...
5
votes
2answers
681 views

How are the HEP experiments' invariant mass plots generated?

I am experimenting and playing around with some data, and I'm having trouble seeing how to generate invariant mass plots. The data I have has a bunch of events, and variables such as $P,P_T,\eta,\phi$...
5
votes
1answer
222 views

Statistical significance in Z boson excess paper

In a recent ATLAS paper, a excess of $3\sigma$ was reported from the Standard Model prediction in a search looking for a same-sign dilepton signal with an invariant mass around the Z peak. For brevity ...
5
votes
1answer
558 views

Advanced data analysis in Physics experiments

I know that regression, chi-distribution, covariance, error propagation, etc. are frequent tools for experimental physicists. So, I'd like to know if advanced statistics topics are used in data ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

What does a curved natural log graph suggest?

Sorry if this is rather simple, but I've only just started learning about using logarithms in experimental physics. I did an experiment to test the amount of time it would take for an amount of ...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

Why is the resolution or measurement uncertainty of $G$ so bad?

I sorta know how the Cavendish apparatus works, and I know that "Gravity is an extremely weak force" for subatomic particles in comparison with the E&M or nuclear forces that act on these ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

What are the easiest ways to get data out of a FITS file without a library?

There are FITS libraries for most programming languages (see this list), but FITS is a simple enough format that it should be pretty easy to extract data without the need for such libraries or ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I calculate the experimental uncertainty in a function of two measured quantities

I am performing an experiment where I'm measuring two variables, say $x$ and $y$, but I'm actually interested in a third variable which I calculate from those two, $$z=f(x,y).$$ In my experiment, of ...
4
votes
1answer
757 views

Pendulum: Deduce proportionality from experiment

I know, very easy for all of you, but I'm a beginner in physics ... ;) I have to work with the mathematical pendulum. After some experiments (changing mass, chaning pendulum's length etc.), I could ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

White Noise Generator Through Low Pass Filter - Autocorrelation of normalized data dropping below 0 (showing negative correlation)

I am doing the following experiment: http://physlab.lums.edu.pk/images/a/ab/Correlation.pdf It is basically a white noise generator running through a low pass filter. Sample voltages are taken and ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

What causes the 20 second period in LIGO data?

I download LIGO data on GW150914 (gravitational waves) via the code in Mathematica ...
4
votes
2answers
157 views

How do you measure neutron energy?

I think you can detect a neutron event with a scintillator (neutron to photon), photomultiplier tube (photon to electric signal) system, but how would a fusion neutron's energy (2.45 MeV) be typically ...
4
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Where are the ice rings in X-ray crystallography located?

I threw this image of one of my protein crystal's diffraction pattern (not the greatest) on a poster, and was wondering where (what reciprocal dimension) the ice rings are located as it might be a ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Reference request: statistical inference with real world (chaotic) data, e.g. climate/weather data

I'm interested in the process that goes from, for example, huge data sets of temperature, pressure, precipitation etc readings to a model of the atmosphere. I'd like to know about how much relies on a ...
4
votes
2answers
121 views

Do I force the intercept to zero when determining the coefficient of friction?

I have made these measurements of kinetic friction force vs normal force: I want to measure the coefficient of friction as the slope of the line. Unfortunately the line does not pass through $(0,0)$. ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Is Machine Learning a useful tool for analyzing experimental data? [closed]

Apart from being a student of Physics I'm also a developer and recently in the context of cloud development I've been hearing a lot about cloud based Machine Learning. After looking at some examples ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Calculating Lyapunov exponents from a multi-dimensional experimental time series

Wolf's paper Determining Lyapunov Exponents from a Time Series states that: Experimental data typically consist of discrete measurements of a single observable. The well-known technique of phase ...
4
votes
1answer
212 views

Data requirement to determine proportionality

A common result of theoretical analysis in physics is some sort of relation derived from physical parameters and typically expressed in the form of a non-dimensional parameter. These scale relations ...
4
votes
2answers
235 views

Combining two data points with different uncertainties

I have two separate algorithms (call them "A1" and "A2") which reconstruct the $(x, y)$-position of an event in a particle detector. I can test both of these algorithms on simulated events from a very ...
4
votes
1answer
486 views

Combining uncertainties - multiple measurements

I am trying to understand how to combine uncertainties when they are dependent and independent from each other. Using this formula : $$\delta z = \sqrt {\Biggl(\dfrac{\partial f}{\partial x} \delta ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to determine frequency components present in distorted signal, with the set of possible components already known?

I am trying to choose the best approach to digitally analyse a signal, which is a mix of an unknown number (but less than 16) fundamental signals at specific frequencies (e.g., sines). The goal is ...
4
votes
0answers
684 views

Calculating statistical significance of peak over background in counting experiment

I histogrammed the invariant masses of particular events in a counting experiment. There is a specific peak which towers over the expected exponential background. How can I give the statistical ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Should a Gaussian Curve Always Be Drawn Symmetrically?

This question is more about the appearance of a curve that comes up while I am analysing my data rather than an actual physics question, but I think it's relevant. I have analysed some data from an ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

How to make sure that two electrons collide head to head?

In high energy experiments, people smash particles into particles. But how to make sure that they really run into each other, instead of just passing by?
3
votes
1answer
247 views

Binning or just skipping values in a simulation to avoid autocorrelation

Given a set of data from a generic Montecarlo simulation $x_i$, $(1=1,...,N)$, autocorrelation is expected to happen between data points within relaxation time $\tau$ (correlation time) distance ...
3
votes
3answers
738 views

What do the terms “offline” and “online” refer to in the field of high energy physics data analysis?

The title says it - I've encountered these terms several times but have never found an explanation anywhere. An example of use is this ATLAS note. If I may hazard a guess: Data rate is high at the ...