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Introduction to Experimental Uncertainty

These modules are meant as an introduction to uncertainty analysis as it will be performed in your Physics Lab Courses. Students will learn about sources and types of uncertainty, how to assign uncertainty to their measurements, and how to propagate uncertainty through manipulations of their original measurements.



In this unit, you will learn about types of uncertainty, guidelines for assigning uncertainty, and methods for comparing values with uncertainty.

This lesson is an introduction to systematic and statistical uncertainties affecting measurements. Topics such as the difference between precision and accuracy, how to assign uncertainty to measurements, how to compare measurements with different uncertainty values, and the different ways to represent uncertainty in calculations will be discussed.

This lesson introduces methods for setting up graphs for plotting data and understanding how to interpret the slope and intercept of the resulting line of best fit. In addition, methods for manually and computationally determining the line of best fit are introduced. Residuals, and how they can be used to optimize a line of best fit, are also discussed. Finally, when and how to use semi-log and log-log plots are examined, including how to manually determine the equation for the line of best of fit for these types of graphs, and how to interpret the results.

This lesson will discuss how to propagate uncertainties when using measured quantities in various types of calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.