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Unformatted text preview: 1 All measurements always have some uncertainty. We refer to the uncertainty as the error in the measurement. Errors fall into two categories: 1. Systematic Error errors resulting from measuring devices being out of calibration. Such measurements will be consistently too small or too large. These errors can be eliminated by precalibrating against a known, trusted standard. 2. Random Errors errors resulting in the fluctuation of measurements of the same quantity about the average. The measurements are equally probable of being too large or too small. These errors generally result from the fineness of scale division of a measuring device. Physics is a quantitative science and that means a lot of measurements and calculations. These calculations involve measurements with uncertainties and thus it is essential for the physics student to learn how to analyze these uncertainties (errors) in any calculation. Systematic errors are generally simple to analyze but random errors require a more careful analysis and thus it will be our focus. There is a statistical method for calculating random uncertainties in measurements. This requires taking at least 10 measurements of a quantity. We will consider such method later on in the lab. For now we will consider the uncertainty associated with a single measurement. The following general rules of thumb are often used to determine the uncertainty in a single measurement when using a scale or digital measuring device. 1. Uncertainty in a Scale Measuring Device is equal to the smallest increment divided by 2....
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This note was uploaded on 09/02/2011 for the course PHYS 4a taught by Professor Luna during the Spring '11 term at DeAnza College.
 Spring '11
 Luna

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