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Measurements and Their Uncertainties: A Practical Guide to Modern Error Analysis

TextbookHandbook / Manual

By: Ifan G Hughes(Author), Thomas PA Hase(Author)

136 pages, 75 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Jul 2010 | #187011 | ISBN-13: 9780199566334
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€23 approx
Hardback | Jul 2010 | #187010 | ISBN-13: 9780199566327
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £39.95 $52/€45 approx

About this book

This hands-on guide is primarily intended to be used in undergraduate laboratories in the physical sciences and engineering. It assumes no prior knowledge of statistics. It introduces the necessary concepts where needed, with key points illustrated with worked examples and graphic illustrations. In contrast to traditional mathematical treatments it uses a combination of spreadsheet and calculus-based approaches, suitable as a quick and easy on-the-spot reference. The emphasis throughout is on practical strategies to be adopted in the laboratory.

Error analysis is introduced at a level accessible to school leavers, and carried through to research level. Error calculation and propagation is presented though a series of rules-of-thumb, look-up tables and approaches amenable to computer analysis. The general approach uses the chi-square statistic extensively. Particular attention is given to hypothesis testing and extraction of parameters and their uncertainties by fitting mathematical models to experimental data. Routines implemented by most contemporary data analysis packages are analysed and explained. Measurements and Their Uncertainties finishes with a discussion of advanced fitting strategies and an introduction to Bayesian analysis.

"With the shift from analytic methods to spreadsheet-based techniques, this book will enable students simultaneously to (a) become fluent in the choice and application of appropriate methods (b) understand the underlying principles. "
– David Saxon, University of Glasgow

"This is a rather beautiful little book."
– David J. Hand, International Statistical Review


1. Errors in the physical sciences
2. Random errors in measurement
3. Uncertainties as probabilities
4. Error propagation
5. Data visualisation and reduction
6. Least-squares fitting of complex functions
7. Computer minimisation and the error matrix
8. Hypothesis testing - how good are our models
9. Topics for further summary

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