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Lec0 Stats - Physics 257 Lecture 0 Basic Statistics...

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Physics 257 Lecture 0: Basic Statistics & Introduction to Matlab Prof. Matt Dobbs Physics Department, McGill U. Prof. M. Dobbs, Physics 257 Lecture 0 Stats 2 Outline Orientation session was yesterday, Sept 6. If you missed it, download the information from WebCT. We covered: z Syllabus, lab rules & expectation z Brief intro to the interplay between theory & experiment + the scientific method TODAY Average behavior of data: Mean, median, mode Measures of spread: Variance, standard deviation Correlations: covariance, corr coefficient Significant Figures Matlab Introduction Basic Statistics Statistics is the mathematical treatment and analysis of large quantities of data. It provides us with a means of characterizing a distribution of data with a few parameters such as the average and standard deviation. Prof. M. Dobbs, Physics 257 Lecture 0 Stats 4 Why Statistics A couple centuries ago: “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment” (B. Russell) z First statistics conference was held in 1853. Today: To be a statistician is great ! You never have to be “absolutely sure” of something ... Being “reasonably certain” is enough! (from Frank Lehner lecture) Our goal: learn to use statistics as a quantitative tool to report scientific results. Learn to understand what other people’s statistics mean – and when to trust them.
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