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Old 2011-03-14, 22:54   #1
davieddy
 
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"Lucan"
Dec 2006
England

647410 Posts
Default Accuracy and Precision

One of the first series of lectures I attended at Oxford
was "Errors", and delivered most enjoyably.
He employed a clock which could count microseconds
to determine the period of a pendulum. He mentioned that the clock cost
about the same as an E-type Jaguar, and invited us to guess which
of the two items he would choose. I assume you can date me by that
anecdote.

The point I want to make is that many folk (reasonably) moan
when a quantity is quoted to an unwarranted number of figures.

However, if (as physicists routinely do) you quote a standard deviation
with your result, the greatest sin is to drop the precision of the
calculation prematurely.

David
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