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Physics I Lab Manual 2011 12 - EXPERIMENT 1 STATISTICS...

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EXPERIMENT 1. STATISTICS about 3 m high” or ”the bus is around 3 m high”, but in a scientific context, such general phrases are not useful - instead we express our uncertainty quantitatively (with numbers). When pressed the bus driver might admit that his estimate that the bus is 3 m high is only a guess, but he is confident it is less than 3.3 m high and that it is greater than 2.7 m high, so he could say that the bus is between 2.7 m and 3.3 m high. Even better would be a statement that he believes the bus is 3.0 m high with an uncertainty of ± 0.3 m (i.e. between 3.0-0.3 m and 3.0+0.3 m). This is the proper way to report the result of a measurement in scientific context. In the previous example the bus driver didn’t actually measure the height of the bus. If he had parked the bus in front of a tile building with tiles that he knew to be 0.3 m square he might have been able to count the rows of tiles from the ground to the top of the bus to determine the height of the bus. If he sees the bus is between 9 and 10 tiles high he can state the height of the bus is 9.5
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