05_error - Lesson 5: Expressing Error in Measurements...

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Lesson 5: Expressing Error in Measurements Causes of Error in Experiments Anytime an experiment is conducted, a certain degree of uncertainty must be expected. There are basically three reasons you might have an error in a measurement. 1. physical errors in the measuring device Example 1: Your thermometer was dropped and has small air bubbles in it. 2. improper or sloppy use of measuring device Example 2: When you used your thermometer, you measured the values in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. 3. ambient conditions (temperature, pressure, etc.) Example 3: Measuring the length of a piece of wood outdoors in the winter using a metal ruler, you forget that metal contracts in the cold making the ruler shorter. Possible Error While perform in an experiment and taking measurements, it would probably be a good idea to record how precise you think your measurement is. If two people are measuring distances, where one of them uses a beaten up metre stick and the other uses a laser distance finder, we would not be able to treat the two as if they were done with the same care. The best way to do this is simply look at the smallest scale that the device can show. For example, lots
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This note was uploaded on 12/02/2011 for the course PHYSICS 235 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Rutgers.

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05_error - Lesson 5: Expressing Error in Measurements...

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