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THEOETOF MEASUEEMEOTS
A MANUAL FOE

PHYSICS STUDENTS

II W*

Professor of Pmffics in ihe Unfa

flfSfflffiK

ILLUSTRATED

SECOND EDITION, REVISED

NEW YORK
D.

VAN NOSTKAND COMPANY


25

PAKK PLACE
1917

COPYBIGHT 1915, 1917,

BY
D.

VAN NOSTEAND COMPANY

PREFACE

THIS book
1.

As a

is

two semester hours


discussions

two ways:
outlined would require

designed to be used in either of

Text-book.

The work

for its completion.

and problems,

it

may

be

By

made

extending the
to cover three

semester hours;

or

the student

gain a working knowledge of the subject

in

may

a shorter time.

by omitting

" rule of
thumb " knowledge of

adjusting observations, however,


2.

As a

three years

the

first

is

not to be

recoTtt.Tn.e-nd.edr

The work would

cover a

course in the physical laboratory.

During

Laboratory Guide.
7

portions of the theory,

year, the student would

make

use of those portions

which are devoted to methods of estimating precision,

and the propagation of


methods of adjustment
and

errors;

of

in the second year the

observations would be used;

in the third year the student should

discuss his results

curves.

The work

by the use

be prepared to

of empirical formulae

and

of the second year is well adapted to

students in junior courses in engineering, the adjustment


of data obtained from surveys being especially appropriate*
iii

PEEFACE

IT

The use

of the graphic

method would be

illustrated through-

out the entire course.


Considerable space

is

This subject

is

ability.

presumably on account

devoted to the theory of proba fascinating one to students,

of its

human

interest.
J. S. S.

OF MAINE, OKONO, ME.,


January, 1915.

CONTENTS
PAGE

PREFACE
NOTATION

iii
,

CHAPTER

...vii

INTRODUCTION

MEASUREMENTS
ERRORS

2
3

CHAPTER

II

4
9

PROBABILITY

THE CURVE
THE INTEGRAL
THE ARITHMETICAL MEAN

CONSTANT INTERVAL
WEIGHTS

CHAPTER

III

22
32
32

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS


SHORT METHODS
,

ILLUSTRATIONS

CHAPTER

IV

THE PRECISION OF MEASUREMENTS


GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION.

14
17
17
18

36
36

.....,.,

CONTENTS

vi

PAGE

PRECISION MEASURES AND THEIK DERIVATION

AVERAGE DEVIATION
PROBABLE ERROR

37
38
38

CHAPTER V
44

THE PROPAGATION OF ERRORS


THE DIRECT PROBLEM
THE CONVERSE PROBLEM
FRACTIONAL METHOD
BEST MAGNITUDES AND EATIOS

CHAPTER

VI

PLOTTING

METHOD ILLUSTRATED

CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CURVES


APPLICATION TO LABORATORY PROBLEMS

CHAPTER

....

57

62
63
66
69

VIII

EMPIRICAL FORMULAE AND CONSTANTS


METHOD OF PROCEDURE
TYPES OF CURVES
ILLUSTRATIONS
.

54
55
57

VII

NEGLIGIBILITY
APPLICATIONS
CRITERIA
SIGNIFICANT FIGURES

CHAPTER

45
49
50
51

72
72
75
76

NOTATION

The following

notation will be used ia this books

y =* Simple probability;

P=Compound probability;
Q = Negative probability;

m= Single observation;
.34"

= Mean of observations;

s=Tnie value

of

a component observation;

Z~The resultant true value;


&= Error;
t;=Kesidual;

h = Measure

of precision;

&= Probability of error zero;


= Probable error of a single observation;
r = Probable error of the mean;
7-

5= Error in a component measurement;


A = Error in a result;
Average deviation of a single observation;
Average deviation of the mean;
Weight (Latin ponckts)',
error.

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS
CHAPTER

DsrmoDucnoN
LOED KELVIN has told us that one's knowledge of
when he can measure what he is speaking
about and express it in numbers. Every year a vast number of measurements are made in physical, chemical, and

science begins

engineering laboratories,

as well as in

laboratories

for

We

are unable, however, to state


concerning any one of these measurements that the result
One of the most precise measureis absolutely correct.

advanced research.

ments in physical science


light.

The wave-length

is

of

a Michelson interferometer
found to be

that of the wave-length of

cadmium light, measured by


and a Rowland grating, was

\.= 0.000064384722 cm. (Michelson)


Xc= 0.00006438680 cm. (Rowland).

Or we may put

it

in another way,

1 meter contains 1553163.6 wave-lengths (Michelson),

1 meter contains 1553164.1 wave-lengths (Fabry and


Perot).

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

observers
These measurements were made by different
for their
remarkable
are
using different methods. They
with
of
the
light
us
wave-length
agreement and they give
not
are
But
they
for all
sufficient

correct,

accuracy
it is not at

and

purposes.

all

likely that

we

shall ever

know

the true length of a wave of cadmium light.


that we should be
It is of great importance, however,
of measurements
able to pass judgment upon the accuracy
from the domain
illustration
another
To borrow
like these.

we may assume the value for the


be 29986030 km. per second. Here

of optics,

to

velocity of light

the

number 30

omitted, would make

a measure of precision, which, if


of light has
the statement ridiculous, since the velocity
is

to be regarded
not been measured with sufficient accuracy
kilometer.
as correct to a single
A student who brings in a value for g, resulting from
centimeasurements with a simple pendulum, of 982.436
look
to
upon the
second per second, is likely
meters

per

result with

complacency

until

he

is

made

to see that all

8 are useless because erroneous.


figures after the

MEASUREMENTS
Measurements are usually classified as follows:
1. Direct
when, for example, a distance is measured
line.
a
with
tape
when, for example, the density of a cylindetermined by measurements of its length, diameter,

2. Indirect

der

is

and mass.
3.

when, for example, the third angle of


restricted by the values of the other two angles.

Conditioned

triangle

is

Measurements not so conditioned are

called independent.

INTRODUCTION

ERRORS
Errors in measurement

may

be divided into two general

classes:
1.

Those which may be eliminated, in part at

by improving adjustments and taking


method employed.

least,

greater care in the

These include errors in instruments, such, for example,


caused by faulty measuring sticks, imperfectly
graduated circles, and poorly adjusted balance beams.

as are

The obvious method


stitute

of correcting these errors is to sub-

good instruments for poor ones;

to eliminate the errors

Personal

or,

when

possible,

by compensation.
These are errors characteristic of
If we swing a pendulum before

Errors.

the individual observer.

class of students

and ask them

to indicate the times

of greatest displacement by tapping with their pencils,


the result will well illustrate the personal equation. In

the experiment in wireless telegraphy by which time


messages were sent from Paris to Arlington, each observer
was carefully rated in order that this error should be

guarded against.
Mistakes are, unfortunately, too
laboratory work to

common

in students'

an extended explanation,
Errors in reading scales, in computation, and in tabulation
may be classed as mistakes, and these should become
less and less frequent as the student gains experience.
2. The second class consists of errors which are indeterminate in their nature, and may not be entirely eliminated, however much care we may take in our measurements, or by

tjie

call

for

use of the highest grade of apparatus.


winch we are concerned in the dis-

It is these errors with

cussions in this book.

CHAPTER

II

PROBABILITY
PROFESSOR JEVONS

in his Principles of Science states


an
has
a truism which
important bearing upon the theory
"
Perfect knowledge alone can give cerof probability.

Nature perfect knowledge would be infinite


knowledge, which is clearly beyond our capacities. We
have, therefore, to content ourselves with partial knowl77
edge knowledge mingled with ignorance producing doubt.
We may interpret this to mean that from the point
of view of Omniscience everything exists as certainty.
The path of a leaf falling from a tree, as well as that of a
mote dancing in a sunbeam is known with as great a certainty as that of a heavy body dropped to the earth. For
finite minds, however, where certainty is impossible, the
ability to pass upon the probability that an event will
tainty,

and

happen in a

What

in

certain

way

is

the best substitute attainable.

highly probable in minds of a certain order


of intelligence, may be improbable to others.
To a trained
is

meteorological observer, it may appear extremely probable that it will rain to-morrow; to one who bases his

weather predictions upon popular superstition, it may


be improbable. Again it may seem probable to certain
people that spirit hands produced music at a stance,
while to others the probability becomes negative.
4

PROBABILITY

We may

look at the subject in another way. When a


championship game of baseball has been finished, the result

becomes a certainty in the minds of the spectators; while


in various parts of the country, where the result has not
as yet been reported, bets continue to be made expressing
the probability of what to other minds is a certainty.
If a coin is tossed up under normal conditions, the
"
"
heads
is one out of two,
probability that it will fall
or one-half. This is also the probability that it will fall
"
tails."
have, then, from our notation, y=i, or, since
we shall deal with more than one event,
and Q = f.

We

P=|

Since the coin must

fall

in one

l (the

If

coins are thrown,

The

first

we

way

symbol
have,

or the other,

we have

for certainty).

by

the binomial theorem

term expresses the probability that all will


all but one will come

come down heads, the second that

down
If

heads, etc,

we take n=6,

the chances that

may

be expressed by the fraction


be heads by ^-.

-fa,

all

will

and that

be heads
five will

PROBLEMS
expanding the binomial to the proper number
for four, three, two, one,
and no heads may be expressed by f |f Jf , ^, and fc
1.

By

of terms,

show that the chances

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

2. By using an additional term prove that it is impossible


to throw seven heads with six coins.
3. Plot a curve with the data obtained, and preserve
it

for future use.


4. If the class is sufficiently large (say 20) it will

an interesting

exercise to take the

mean

results of

prove

64

trials

by each student and compare with the results obtained by


theory,

A
may

better acquaintance with

the laws of probability


be obtained by putting aside the formula and solving

the following problems

by an appeal

to reason.

PROBLEMS
thrown what is the probability that
the sum of the numbers will be five? We first determine
the possible results with two dice, which may be obtained
by considering that each number on one die may appear
with each number on the other. This gives us 6X6 = 36.
Five may be obtained either by a four and a one, or a two
and a three. Now the four may be on the first die and the
one on the second, or the one may be on the first and the
four on the second. The same is true for the two and
Thus we have four possibilities, giving a probthree.
1.

If

two

dice are

ability of ^-.
2. What is the probability of throwing one ace with
a single die in one throw?
3. What is the probability of throwing no ace with a
single die in one throw?

4.

trials?

What

is

the probability of throwing one ace in

two

PROBABILITY
5.

What

is

the probability of throwing two aces in

two

What

is

the probability of throwing no ace in

two

What

is

trials?
6.

trials?
7.

in

two
8.

the probability of throwing only one ace

trials?

bag contains eight

What

balls.

is

red, six black,


the probability of drawing

then a black ball in two


9.

The

class record

and

five green

first

a red and

trials?

shows that each student in a class of

twenty-five usually solves one problem out of three assigned.


What is the probability that an assigned problem will

be solved?
j

In Merriman s Least Squares we have this problem:


Let a hundred coins be thrown up each second by each
of the inhabitants of the earth. How often will a hundred
heads be thrown in a million years? (It will prove interesting for the student to guess the answer to this problem
before solving it. The number of inhabitants may be
taken as one and one-half billion.)
10.

Before leaving the subject of probability a few general

may be suggested. It is a rather prevalent


notion that antecedent happenings have an effect upon
present probability. If a coin has come down heads five
considerations

times in succession, it is pretty difficult to convince the


man that the chances for tails on the sixth throw

average

are not greater than the c^iances for heads. Of course,


if the conditions are normal, the probability of throwing
heads is just one-half. (The derivation of the word chance
is

an

interesting one.)

Such expressions as "the turning

THEOEY OF MEASUREMENTS

8
of luck

"

indicate the strong hold this feeling has

upon

the majority of people.


Again, we should not become over-confident from the
results

of the laws of probability.

Interesting applica-

be found in connection with the periodic law


of MendeleSff; the law of Prout, which states that the
tions

may

atomic weights of the other elements are exact multiples


of that of hydrogen; and the kinetic theory of gases as
developed by Clausius and Mayer. A case in which the
probability almost becomes a certainty is illustrated by
the coincidence of the seventy spectral lines in iron vapor

with those in solar

light.

The

possible

arrangement of the

seventy lines would be

70X69X68X
But

as

all

4X3X2X1.

possible arrangements

would not apply, the


been estimated by

probability of a chance coincidence has

Kirchhoff as one in one

trillion.

Do we know

that iron

exists in the sun?

The

following illustration

may

serve to

weaken our

Imagine a fly watching two coincidence pendulums which come together on the eightyfirst swing.
While we are about it, let us imagine that in
feeling of certainty:

mind of a

The
fly, one second represents a year.
watch the vibrations for ten seconds (years) and
report to another fly which has just come up, that quite
an extended series of observations fails to discover the two
the

fly will

pendulums in coincidence. The pendulums are watched


fifty, sixty, and seventy swings and it becomes a

through

PKOBABIUTY

law in flyland that pendulums do not get together. When


the law has become established by observations
extending
over eighty fly-years, the bell rings and the
assumption
based upon a very reasonable law of probability breaks

down.

The

Probability Curve.

6, it will

in Fig.

Referring to problem 3, page


be seen that the curve takes the form indicated

1.

Any similar data from experiments which follow the


laws of probability would yield such a curve as this,

FIG.

familiar illustration

If the target is

marked

is

1.

afforded

by

target practice.

off into divisions,

the distances of

these divisions from the center

may

be taken to represent

the magnitude of the errors. If a series of shots be fired


by expert marksmen under normal conditions, they will

form the basis for a curve which

will

resemble Fig.

1.

Since the errors are plotted along the #-axis and their
corresponding probabilities along the 2/-axis; and since

the curve

is

seen to be symmetrical with respect to the

THEORY OF MEASUEEMENTS

10

and the -axis is an asymtote, it will be seen that


equation must take some such form as

y-axis,

its

-,-. f>-X*
c?

rigid deduction of this probability equation has

been

given by Gauss.

Let x represent an error and y


),

Then

its probability.

y*=f(xn ).

...

(1)

For compound probability


P**yiy2

y=f(*i)f(x2)

/(a*.);

(2)

Let us suppose that n observations are taken on the quantities zi,

and

tities will

22.

make

dP

The most probable values

of these

quan-

P maximum,

dP

We have

....

(5)

PROBABILITY

By

11

differentiating log f(x{) with respect to xi,

Substituting

Or

(5) in (3)

*ta)||+*fe)fe+

The

as results.

(4),

we have

W^=0

(6)

may

Then

Since mi, m%, and m* are constants,

and

be simplified as follows: Consider


been measured n times, giving mi, m% . .
m*

equations

that z has

= 4>(*{)f(xi)tei.

jf(xi)

and

we have

similar results follow for

we have

&.

This greatly simplifies Eqs.

(6)

and

(7)

and produces

THEOEY OF MEASUREMENTS

12

Errors and Residuals

We

must now make a

brief digression in order to illus-

and

trate the difference between errors

residuals.

Take

the following measurements, of equal weight:

mi =430.6

m 2 =429.9
7714

By

universal

= 430.8

custom the mean

of these results, 430.6,

(Later a mathematical proof of this will be given.)


The differences between the measurements and the

is

taken as the best attainable value.

mean

are called residuals,

and are as

follows:

= 0.0
^=-0.7
01

t>3=-f0.5

V4=

The

algebraic

sum

4-0.2

of the residuals always equals zero,

and this may serve as a check upon the work. Now if we


had some way of knowing that 430.6 was the correct result,
we would transform those residuals into errors and designate them by xi, #2, #3, and x.

residual, then, is the difference

ment and the

ference between a

between a measure-

an error is the
measurement and the true result.

best attainable result;

dif-

FEOBABILITY

13

It is obvious, first, that we cannot determine the values


of the errors; and secondly, that the sum of the errors
will

approach the sum of the residuals as we increase the


of measurements.

number

Going back to Eq.

(9),

we may assume

that

is suf-

we can apply the above law. Then,


sum of the residuals is always zero, one may
sum of the errors to be zero, and write

ficiently large so that

since the

take the

From

this it follows that

<

is

a constant, which

we may

call c.

If

we

substitute the values of $(xi), 4>(xz),

for (5) in (9),

we

and

<t>(xn }

obtain

4K*0 _
Since this holds for any number of observations, the
corresponding terms are equal. Omitting subscripts we

have in general

Substitute values from (1) and integrate.

We have

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

14

c is negative (why?)

and may be replaced

2A2

convenience by

Then y=ke~~ h^ which


It is

for the sake of


'

also

replace

ek

by

k.

the equation of the probability


similar in form to the equation suggested to
y

curve.

We may

is

express the curve in Fig. 1.


This is the most important equation in the theory of
precision of measurements and its meaning should be
clearly understood.

PROBLEMS
1.

Show from the curve that

positive

and negative

errors are equally likely to occur.


2.

Show

that k represents the probability of the error

zero.
3.

Explain

4.

Show
Show

5.

why h

is called

that the curve

the measure of precision.

horizontal over the origin.


that a point of inflection occurs when
is

-*.
h\/2

THE PROBABILITY INTEGRAL


In order to express the probability that a certain group
of errors will be made we integrate between the limits
concerned.

As

this

involves

compound

probability,

we

have
"If

p=-For certainty P= 1 and the

limits

*+
-a>

become

+ QO

and

oo

PROBABILITY
This

a well-known integral and

is

treatises

on the

calculus.

15
discussed in various

is

It equals -r

and

therefore

hdx

and the probability equation becomes


y = hdx7r~^~

h ~ x2
.

For compound probability

The
is

probability that

an

error

double the probability that

between +x and
between x and 0.

lies

it lies

We

have

This

may take the form

This

is

the usual form of the probability integral.

be determined in a manner to be explained


use of

may

table the probability of

The student

any

be obtained.
on Least Squares for

larger text-books

is

later;

may

then by

desired magnitude
any of the

referred to

illustrations.

THEOEY OF MEASUBEMENTS

16

EXERCISES
In order to become familiar with the terms h and
the following curves should be plotted:
Give k the values
1. Consider h constant.

1,

2,

k,

3, 4.

Plot a curve for each value.

Consider k constant. Give h the values J, |, 1, 2.


In each case select a series of rather small numbers
for x and use the formula
2.

time permits, a set of curves should be constructed in which both h and k are variables, x and y
3. If

having constant values.

The Term

we take the product


we obtain

If
ties,

An

"

Least Squares

of a

number

"

of single probabili-

inspection of this equation shows us that the probabil-

when the expression in the parenthesis is least.


these numbers are the squares of the errors (residuals,

ity is greatest

But

see page 12).

It follows that the

most probable values

of observed quantities are those which

the squares of the residuals the least.


derived the term Least Squares.

make
From

the
this

sum

of

law

is

PROBABILITY

17

THE ARITHMETICAL MEAN

We

are

now

prepared to prove that in a set of observamean has the greatest probability.

tions, the arithmetical

Let

be the mean of observations mi, mz

ma.

Then

Mmij

Mmz

We may make the sum

Mwin are residuals.

of their squares

mn

a minimum.

...

tne anthmeticai mean.

A CONSTANT INTERVAL. FORMULA

For a constant interval the arithmetical mean should not


be employed. This formula comes from formulae used in
See Mellor's Higher Mathdeveloping normal equations.
ematics,
If

page 327.
is

odd, the middle term does not appear.

even number of measurements.

Use an

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

18

ILLUSTRATIVE PROBLEMS
1.

Kundt's experiment:

92.3, 104.6,
12.3 cm.
2.

Time

116.9,

129.2,

of vibration of

43.1,

30.7,

141.7,

154.0,

magnet bar:

55.6,

67.9,

80.1,

cm.

Ans.

166.1

3.25, 9.90, 16.65,

23.35, 30.00, 36.65, 43.30, 50.00, 56.70, 63.30, 69.80, 76.55,

83.30, 89.90, 96.65, 103.15, 109.80, 116.65, 123.25, 129.95,


136.70, 143.35. Ans. 6.67.

problem illustrating this method may easily be


suggested from measurements with a planimeter; also
3.

from the acceleration curve with a dropped

fork.

WEIGHTS
we have

considered all our measurements


Suppose the length of a small object
was measured with a micrometer gauge, a vernier reading
to hundredths of a millimeter, a vernier reading to tenths

Heretofore

to be of equal value.

of

a millimeter, and a meter

The

stick.

following results might be recorded:

1.

Micrometer

2.

Vernier

3.
4.

A
Vernier B

3.542 cm.
,

Meter Stick

3.544

"

"

3.54

"

3.55

The mean of these measurements, 3.544, is obviously


not the best value, since some represent greater precision
than others.
If one attaches to these results a number
indicating their relative values, such

a number

is

called the

PROBABILITY
weight and

19

by p. (Latin, pondus,
pound.) Further on, rules will be
given for finding the weight of observations, but for the
present we may use our judgment. No. 4 is evidently

weight.

is

usually designated

Compare

the least accurate and

3 comes next and we

we may

may

1.
No.
and No. 2 are

give it the weight

call it 3.

No.

about alike in weight, with perhaps a little advantage in


favor of No. 1. We may, therefore, assign 8 to No. 2 and
10 to No. 1. Putting our results in tabular form, we have:

Spm= 77.942

Sp=22
2pm Sp

weighted mean

-5-

The weighted mean may be proved


probability in a

manner

3.543

to have the greatest

similar to that

employed

for the

unweighted mean.

PROBLEMS

7^

In establishing a north and south


readings were taken:
1.

N.

AH

6' E.,

N.

4'

line,

W., N. 60" W., N.

the following

00'.

readings were taken with equal care, but the first was
taken twice and the third three times. Find the best

value.

THEORY OF MEASUKEMENTS

20
2.

Joule's values of the mechanical equivalent of heat


follows:

have been weighted by Rowland as

He

concludes that 426.9 best represents the result of Joule's

work.
3. The sum of the angles of an equilateral triangle is
found to measure 180 9'. If the first angle has been measured six times, the second three times, and the third once,
how should the error be distributed among the angles?

Additional problems in weighting will be given after


the subject of precision of measurement has been discussed.

Subjects for Discussion

The

following topics are suggested for those

who may

wish to pursue the subject further:


1'.

work

The

part played

of the U. S.

by

the theory of probability in the

Weather Bureau.

The

bearing of the laws of probability upon popular


Read the Vice-Presidential address of Prosuperstitions.
2.

fessor A.

G. Webster,

(Science, Jan.
3.

9,

at Atlanta,

30,

1913.

1914.)

Exceptional phenomena. Read Chapter 29 in Jevons's

Principles of Science.
4.

Ga., Dec.

Relation to gambling.

PROBABILITY
Dr. H. G.

Bumham,

21

of Chicago, thinks that the best

way to wipe, $$ gambling in America is to teach the


children in the schools the laws of chance. He fensure
1

that the result of this

woul^^A^

ftfjsl^flibod they
4

would ste^^kw"f4Be
thai when they
I *
Vm
the
other
bookjjmfer tapf^eiy
grow up, ^fti^^^shtin
^
H
t f
*^ W^T
r
r ^ J**^
-^
gambling magnate.
*

'

'

'

''

""

'i~

,"'

if

'jf

i,/7

'*"

'

?B

To quote
stop to count

"

The
Ms pMane^,

further:

c^"dinary

does not

he sees that by betting


a dollar he may win one hundred dollars. If he had been
taught in school to see that in reality the chances were

200 to one against him, and that he was betting a dollar


against fifty cents, he would keep his money in his pocket."
5.

The

tables.

use of the theory of probability in mortality

CHAPTER

III

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS


IT is a frequent experience in making measurements
that our results do not check. The measurements may be

The sum of the angles


example, may not come out just 180.

conditioned (see
triangle, for

they

may

page

2).

be measurements which have a

interdependence.
as
If we take

less

of

Or

degree of

starting-point and measure a disabove


0, then m2=4.3 above mi;
tance,
then m2= 10.6 above 0; we observe that there is a discrepancy somewhere. In this case, an obvious method of
adjustment would be to add 0.03 to the first and second
observations and subtract it from the third. Since the
discrepancy is 0.1, this adjustment would correct it

mi = 6.2

Tihe

feet

to 0.01.

Theory.

While

this

method would answer very well


would break down when

for the simple case in question, it

to more extended measurements. The theory


method of adjustment is as follows:
* m^f
Suppose we have unknown quantities mi, mz
and suppose n measurements are made upon these quan-

applied

of the

22

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS


titles.

Then

if

a,

6,

c,

...

are

known

M the resulting measured quantity, we have

constants

23

and

Since there are more equations than there are


it

unknowns
no system of values will exactly
them. Each equation has a most probable value
unknown terms, but in each case there will be left

follows that in general

satisfy

for its

a small residual

v.

We may

For simplicity we
pendent of mi by K.

may

write the equation:

designate

all

the terms inde-

=vi, and by symmetry

Square both

sides of these equations

and add:

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

24

The
member

greatest probability occurs

to zero,

we have

is

a minimum.

when the right-hand

Placing the

ai(aimi+Ki)+a 2 (a 2 mi+K2)+

first

derivative equal

on (owi+X'n ) =0.

mn
may be written for m 2
"
normal
their
solution
and
These are called
equations
gives the most probable values of the observations under
Similar

equations
"

consideration.

We may now summarize the methods of adjustas follows:


observations
ing
1. Write an observation equation for each observation.
2. Form a normal equation for each unknown by multiRules.

plying each observation equation by the coefficient of the


unknown in that equation and adding the results.

Solve the normal equations

by any method. These


most probable values.
"
"
After these best values have been found, the residuals
3.

results are the

should be computed, and the sum of their squares (Zz; 2 )


found. This value is less than that for any other possible
values of the residuals.

ILLUSTRATIVE PROBLEM
1.

Given the following observation equations,

3m i

4ra2

+ ws =

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS

25

Find the best values and the sum of the squares of the
residuals.

We first find the normal equations by

the rule.

=-

25

16

32

For m2,

4ms = 12

For

Grouping the normal equations,

=
=
=

3
50
10

73

For mi,

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

26
Solving,

mi = 6.00
mo = 6. 13
7723

To

= 3.26

obtain the residuals,

we

substitute these values in

the observation equations,

18-24.52+3.26=- 3
6+12.26+6.52= 25

=10

6.13+ 3.26
6+ 6.13+3.26=

16

0.26

vi=

2 =-0.22

z;

0.61

4=

0.61

v3
i>

2^ = 0.860

~/3~

would be an interesting exercise to try other values


2
for mi, ms, and ms and compare the value of St; resulting,
with the above values. If, for example, we choose mi = 6,
It

m2 = 6, ms = 3,
which alone

The

is

obvious that the second residual


2
greater than the value of Sv

it is

is

unity,

following observations were

made on a

triangle:

Angle A =45; angle J5 = 80; angle 0=54. A+B


= 126; A+C=100; A++C = 180. Find best results.

The

observation equations are

mi =45

m2 =80
ms=54

= 126

The student should


and

construct

find the best values for mi,

m2

the normal

and ms.

equations

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS

27

MEASUREMENTS OF A LINE

D E

FIG. 2.

AB=4.Q
BC=5.1

FG=
4C=

units

7.8 units
9.0

CD = 6.9

BZ> = 11.9

DE=2.Q
JEF6.1

DF=

8.2

Find the best values of the above measurements made


along a line.

Here we have 10 observation equations which will


reduce to six normal equations containing six unknown
The
quantities, which may be solved in the usual way.
is

problem
solution

is

inserted for the

purpose of illustration;

its

hardly worth while.

FORMULAE
When

the

number

of equations is large

stants are not whole numbers,

it

and the con-

saves time and affords a

check upon the work to use the following formulae:

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

28

The normal

equations become

The

Urn*

=IM

following example will illustrate the use of these

formulae:

Observation Equations

6wi

3^2 = 15,1

2wi+2m2 =13.9
mi

2w2=2.1

oa= +36+4+1 = +41

= +9+4+4= +17
= +90.6+27.8+2.1 = +120.5

Uf= -45.3+27.8 -4.2 =-21.7

Let the student compare these


without the use of the formula.

results with those

found

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS

29

PROBLEMS
1.

Adjust the following values and find

mi- +3.06

m2 =-L30
2mi+m 2 =+4.81

*
*>

i,r
2.

Heretofore

has been assumed that

it

have equal weights.

all

observations

If the weights are


unequal

each ob-

servation equation should be multiplied by the square root


of its weight and the normal equation then formed.
IB

the preceding example

the first and the second measurements have weights of one each, the third a weight of four,
and the fourth a weight of nine, and find the adjusted
let

values.
3.
field

The

following observations are taken

from a student's

book:

Jf = 147

N=
0=
P=

93

04.5"

51 26.7

29 56 16.6

+#+0+P=359

M+N+0 =

14'

88 58 06.1

59 55.0
3 39.2

N+0+P=212

45 53.0

0+P+M =271

1 57.8

8 30,0

THEOEY OF MEASUREMENTS

30

FIG. 3

Find the best values


4.

of the angle-

A=

22 13' 59"

5 = 100

C-

18 40

57 27 33
32 41

46 10
79 41 29

A+B+C=180

00

Fra. 4.

Find the best values of the angles.

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS


5.

31

Adjust the following angles:


B

BOC=2
COD =3
DOE = 4

mi =5
BOB = 6
FIG.

Xo

5.

Observed Angles.

51"

70

20'

2.

52

35

10

50

41

25

95

10

41

91

11

57

198

27

14

5..

Observe that angle 6 = angle 2+angle 3+angle 4.


6. Clairaut's empirical formula for the relation between
the length of a seconds pendulum and the latitude is
sin2

!/.

Suppose the following observations to be made:


L

27

0.990564
991150

48 24

0.993867

58 15

0.994589

0.995325

0'

18

67

32

THJtUUJK.1

<JJ

Substitute the values in the given equation for observa-

then form normal equations for LQ and A.


Mellor gives these normal equations:

tion equations;

0.993099 =L +0.44765A,
0.994548 =L +0.70306A.

Systematic Errors

The above method

of treatment applies only to acci-

should happen to be a systematic


error running through the problem it is difficult or impossiThere
ble to detect it from the observations themselves.
dental errors.

If there

may be a mistake on the part of the observer or the error


may be due to inexact graduation of the instruments, or it
may be due to personal peculiarities. (See page 3.) It is
of this book to present the theory of
systematic errors, but the following problem may be read
over with profit:

beyond the scope

86

45' 25.2" +

A=

85

48 36.4

(7= 81

16 40.9

D = 106

11

A+B+C+D = 36Q

1Q1

The
gives

solution according to the

(/|

*^

17.5

2 00

A+J5=172 34
+C = 168 2

C+D-187

**

10.6
15.1

28 13.8
59

11.3

method above outlined

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS


mi = 85

48' 26.2"

m2 =
m3 =

45 32.2
16 50.1

86
81

7714=106

11

33

9.5

These are the best values, but it will be noted that the
of these values is V 58" greater than 360. Presumably, a systematic error of about 30' runs through the
observations. These values, then, may be further adjusted

sum

finding the weight of each observation and distributing


the discrepancy inversely as the weights. The probable
error of each observation is given by the formula

by

fi=0.6745A/
* n

Where n is the number of observations and q the number


of unknown quantities.
In this case
would be 5.

nq

Sv2

obtained in the usual manner and found to be 1303.


Next we may proceed to find the weights of the various
is

measurements. If we wish to find the weight of ms, for example, we should represent the absolute term in the normal
equation of ms by some constant and place the other absolute terms equal to zero. We solve for ms and the weight
is found to be the reciprocal of the coefficient of the conThe probable error of m,% is found by dividing the
stant.
probable error of each observation by the square root of the
weight just found. The discrepancy in the final result may
now be adjusted according to the weights found, and should
give

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

34

mi = 85

47' 56.7"

m2 =
m3 =

86

45

2.7

81

16

20.6

10

40.0

The sum of the angles is now found to be exactly 360. By


the principle of least squares the sum of the squares of the
greater than for the "best values" previously
This seems to confirm the suggestion that a
constant error ran through the observations. A full dis-

residuals

is

obtained.

cussion of this subject

is

given in Palmer's "Theory of Meas-

urements/ page 117.

SHORTER METHODS
The

following

abbreviated

methods

are

sometimes

employed:

HAYEK'S METHOD

Make
results to

m2

The

all

the coefficients of

mi

positive

and add the

form a normal equation for mi. Similarly for


Solve the normal equations as before.

ma-

not so accurate as those obtained by the


longer method, but are satisfactory for most purposes.
results are

PROBLEMS
Observation equations.

x-y+2z=

-5z=

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATION^

35

Solve by the regular method and by


Mayer's method.
idea of their relative accuracies
be obtained
may
by computing Sr2 in each case.

Some

METHOD BY DIMINISHING THE CONSTANT

TERM:

Suppose we have given

24+35 = 25
An

inspection of these equations shows that

^4=6 and

=4

approximately.
Let a and b equal the difference between the true
and B. Then
approximate values of

and

2(6+a)+3(4+6)-25 =0

Forming normals and

solving,

we have

a= -0.153
6==

+0.406

A =6-0.153 =5.847
5=4+0.406=4.406

The student should compare these results with those


obtained by the regular method.
This method is especially well adapted to the adjustment of angles observed at a station. Considerable

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

36

computation is avoided. The following


problem from the United States Lake Survey is solved
in Merriman's Least Squares.

mathematical

No,
1.

2.

3.
4.

5.
6.
7.

Observation.

Between.Stations.

Bunday and Wheatland ............


Bunday and Pittsford ...... .......

44 25' 4CT.613
80 47 32 .819

Wheatland and Pittsford ..... ....'..


36
Pittsford and Reading .............
91
and
Pittsford
Bunday ....... ....... 279
62
Reading and Quincy ............ ...
Quincy and Bunday ................ 125
We may set up the observation equations:
ii

mi+mz=
m3 =

m=
360- Osi+

3)

34 24 .758
12 27 .619

37 43 .405

00 18 .808

44 25' 40".613
80 47 32 .819
36 21 51 .996
91

34 24 .758

=279 12 27

me=

21 51 .996

.619

62 37 43 .405

00 18 .808

FIG. 6.

THE ADJUSTMENT OF OBSERVATIONS

37

On

account of the nature of the constant terms the


solution would be extremely tedious.
We may let v ly
vz,

>4,

and

v$

be the most probable corrections to be applied.

Then
7?ii=44

m 3 =36
7724=91

w6 =62
This gives

rise to

25' 40".613+tFi
21 51 .996+z>3

34 24 .758+t?4
37 43 .405+y 6

simpler observation equations:

= +0.210

-- 0.228
= +0.42
The right-hand members denote
The normal equations are

seconds.

= +0.402
= +0.402
- +0.420

= +0.420
From which
.022
.126

.126

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

38

The adjusted
No.

values

now become,
44 25' 40".635
80 47 32 .653

3,

V.

5
6...
7.

...../.

36
91
279
62
125

21 52 .018

34 24 .884
12 27 ,347
37 43 .531
(X) 18 .932

CHAPTER

IV

THE PRECISION OF OBSERVATIONS


As stated in the introductory chapter, there are no
measurements made with such a degree of accuracy that
we may regard them as absolutely correct. The wavelength of cadmium light has been measured with an accuracy which is marvelous, but its exact value will probably
never be known. Since measurements differ among themselves in accuracy, it is desirable to

have some method


and the term " Precision of Observations" or "Precision of Measurements" is applied to
the method of procedure employed in determining the
of indicating this fact,

relative

the term

accuracy
"

of

because the latter

"

measurements.

Strictly

speaking,

a better one than " accuracy "


term seems to presuppose a knowledge

deviation

is

of exact results.

The percentage of error is obtained by dividing the difference between the result obtained and the true result by the
true result,

and multiplying by

may mean

the best obtainable result.

The

percentage of deviation is obtained

difference between

two

results, neither

regarded as necessarily correct,


tiplying

Here the "true result"

100.

by

by

by

dividing the

one of which

either result,

may

be

and mul-

100.

39

THEORY OP MEASUREMENTS

40

PROBLEMS

per sec.

a student brings a value for g of 981.7 cm. per sec.


at a place where the best determinations give 980 .6 3

what

his percentage of error?

1.

If

is

Would

the term "devia-

tion" apply here?


2. Find the percentage of deviation, between two determinations of the density of mercury: 13.47 and 13.6L
Cksses. There are three classes of precision measures:
1.

2.
3.

Mean

error;

Average deviation;
Probable error.

Graphic Method. These may be illustrated graphically by use of the probability curve (Fig. 7).
Since YOX may be regarded as a probability area,

and

since,

as will

the true result

be shown

lies

later,

the probability that

within the limits indicated

by the

POM
FIG. 7.

precision measure is one-rhalf ;

our precision

in

it

follows that

one of three ways:

we may express

THE PEECISION OF OBSERVATIONS

1. By taking the distance from


along the x-axis to
the point of inflection of the curve. This is represented
and expresses the mean error or mean square error.
by

OM

2. By taking the abscissa of the ordinate passing


through
the center of gravity. This is OD and expresses the aver-

age deviation.

By

3.

YOX

taking the abscissa of the ordinate which divides


equal parts. This is OP and expresses the

into

probable error.

By
the

reference to

mean

Problem

error, /*=

5,

page

14, it will

the distance

The average deviation, OD,


formula in mechanics

may

OM

be seen that

in the figure.

be found by use of the

1/2P

The probable

error,

OP=~.

This will be deduced

later.

Of these

it may be said that the


the square root of the arithmetical mean of
the squares of the errors/ is seldom used; the
probable
error is the most accurate; and the
average deviation is
the easiest to determine.

mean

precision measures,

"

error,

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

42

THE AVERAGE DEVIATION


If TO is

the

mean

of a

measurements and

vi, v%,

1-3,

B the residuals (neglecting signs), the average deviation

t?

would be a.c.=

?i

1
.

Taking the numbers

10,

8,

9,

the

10,

mean

= 0.75.
and 11 = 0.75, 2 = 1.25, 3 = 0.25, and
=
and a.d. 0.75. We may neglect the signs of the
i?

i'

This

is

1*4

is

9.25,

Sz;

= 3,00

residuals.

the average deviation of a single observation.

The average deviation of the mean, A.D. = -^.

Vn

In

75
the problem just solved,

J.JX=-^-=0.38.

PROBLEMS
It will prove of interest

if

the instructor will assign

problems taken from the student's laboratory note-book


in illustration of this topic.

THE PROBABLE EBROK


The term probable error is rather misleading, but its
meaning may be made clear by the following definition:
The probable error is a number placed after a result with
a plus and minus sign between them; and it indicates
that

it is

an even wager that the true result lies between


limits, and that it does not so lie.

the indicated

At

thought, this definition seems vague and not


indicative of a very high order of precision.
Let us take
first

the value of the velocity of light as 29986030 km. per


second. This means that it is just as likely that the true
value lies between 299830 and 299890 as that it lies between

THE PRECISION OF OBSERVATIONS


zero

the

43

and 299830, plus 299890 to infinity. This narrows


and indicates an order of precision that is suf-

field

ficiently high.

The probable error is sometimes defined as a quantity,


which, when added to and subtracted from the mean, gives
limiting values such that
similar manner,
limits as to

lie

its

if

value

another
is

mean

as likely to

is

determined in a

lie

outside these

between them.

FORMULAE FOE PROBABLE ERROR


Going back to the probability
the value of x when P=|.

integral,

we must take

This gives f = 2/ Vr

Z
(

From integration tables we find hx 0.4769.


The particular value of x which fulfills this
Then hr= 0.4769.
will be denoted by r.
Take the equation

for

compound

e" h^dhx.

condition

probability (page 15).

Since h is the measure of precision, we wish to give


such a value as will render P a maximum.

ah

n
(Divide by h

- l e~*

it

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

44

0.4769

But

Therefore

r = 0.4769

= 0.6745
J^\
7i

This

is

the probable error for a single observation

when

errors are considered.

In order to change errors to residuals (x to v), we make


use of the following procedure: Let the sum of the squares
of the errors differ from the sum of the squares of the
residuals

by some

constant, say

u2

u2 =

Now

Then

ss*=2& 2 +

Substituting in the formula for

This

is

1"

r,

the formula for single observations for residuals.

Since probable errors are inversely proportional to the


squares of the number of observations taken (see any text-

book on Least Squares), we have

THE PRECISION OF OBSERVATIONS


n:

Izrl/Vo

1/r

2
,

= r/Vn.

TO

TQ

thus represents the probable error of the

may be written r<>= 0.6745*

mean and

2?

rr,

Vn(n

We may

45

now summarize

1)

the relation between the

probable error the measure of precision, and the weight as


7

follows:

The measure

1.

of precision varies inversely as

probable error (since hr

the

constant).

Weights are proportional to the squares of the pre-

2.

cision measures.

Weights are inversely proportional to the squares

3.

of the probable errors.

PROBLEMS
Given the following measurements of the length of

1.

line:

70.6 cm.
70.5

70.7

"
"

70.6
70.8

Find the mean square


and the probable error.
2.

Assume

70.4 cm.

70.5 cm.

that the lines

"
"

error, the

70.5

70.6

"
"

average deviation^

OP, OD, and

OM

are

drawn

to scale in Fig. 7, and compare their relative lengths with


the results of No. 1.
3.

Given the measurements ^ad probable

ertors:

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

46

427.320.04
427.300.16.
Find the
4.

error

relative weight

and the

relative precision.

Twenty measurements of a line give a probable


How many additional measureof the mean of 0.06.

ments are required to reduce the probable error to 0.03?


5. An angle is measured & times with each of two tranThe first gives a value of
sits.

The second

41

32' 14"=fc8".2.

41

32' 12"db7".l.

gives

Find the best value for the angle.


6. When the best value is found from No.
able error may be found by use of the formula
r/

2 ::

ra

pa

5, its

prob-

Pf

where r/= probable error in the best value;

= probable error in the first value;


p = weight of first value;
pf = weight of first value+weight of
fa
a

The

precision

measure

is

second value.

sometimes expressed as a

a decimal with reference to the magnitude of


the measurement concerned. Thus in Problem 3, we may
fraction or

say that 0.04 is the precision measure, or we may say that


the measurement is reliable to about 0.01 %, or to one part
in 10,000.

1.

THE PRECISION OF OBSERVATIONS


PROBLEMS
Show from the data on page 37 that r = 0.85

= 0.67^.

It follows that for

The

47

a.d.

a constant value of n, ro = 0,85 A.D.


have been obtained from, nine

2.
following results
measurements in each case:

94.31 cm. A.D. = 0.031


a.d. = 0.090
"
r =0.025
94.35

9436 "
94.33
94.34
94.35

"
"
"

= 0.007

reliable to

0.03%

precise to 2 parts in 10,000

Reduce these different precision measures to A.D.'&


and write them in order of the reliability of the results.
The fact that the size of the probable error must be considered in relation to the magnitude of the number with
r
which it is written may be illustrated by Fletcher s result
for the

number

of molecules in

N = 60.3 XHFzfc 1.2 X1022

a gram-molecule of

(Phys. Rev.,

air:

November, 1914.)

CHAPTER V
THE PROPAGATION OF ERRORS
IN the study of the propagation of errors we have two
the direct and the converse. In the

classes of problems
class

we determine how the

errors

in

component
and in
the converse problem we determine with what accuracy
we should make our component measurements in order
to secure a required accuracy in the result.
In solving problems under the first case, we proceed
as follows: If Z represents the true result, and
its
gg are true values of component
error; and #1, 32,
# are their corresponding
measurements, and xi, #2,
first

measurements

affect the reliability of the results;

errors, then,

By Taylor's

theorem

dZ

dZ

dZ

Consider that we have a series of such terms, designated


by 2X} 2xi, ^xz, etc., and square both sides:

THE PROPAGATION OF ERROES

49

We have neglected terms containing the products of


the errors, such as 2xiZ2, since positive and negative errors
are equally likely to occur. If we divide both sides by n,
2
substitute r

we may

result) for

and

ri

(the

2
,

xi

components for

etc.

probable error in the

final

r 2 , the probable errors of the

The reason

for this

is

evident

ti

Thus

from an inspection of the probable error formula.


we have
2
v.2

r
we shall replace r by A and ri, rg
... 5a These refer to any precision measure
the probable error. A means the deviation in

Hereafter

by

5i,

$2,

as well as

the result due to deviations in the components,

BI,

62,

...*..
ILLUSTRATIVE PROBLEMS
1. The two
500.4. Find

sides of

rectangle

measure

the deviation in the area.

450.6 and
The formula

=900+324=1224
A =35 approximately,

We may
feet), is

say, then, that the a*rea (expressed in


3^50 with a deviation measure of 35.

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

50

2. It may be readily seen from the formula that if


2
the equation has the form A =a+6, the value of A becomes
This may be applied to the measurement of
5 a2+s d2.
a line which has to be made in sections.
a constant multiplier,
3. If the equation contains

A=ca, we have A = cS.


a circle is 10 cm. with a deviation of
of the resulting length of the circumferdeviation
the
0.1,
ence is 27rX0.1 =0.63,
If the radius of

PROBLEMS
1.

The formula

a spherometer

for the radius of a sphere as given

by

is

Z=7.23-b(X04cm.,

If

a=0.53d:0.008cm.

and

find the length of the radius and its deviation measure.


2. If the length of a pendulum is IGGiO.l cm. ? and the

period of one vibration l.OliO.003 seconds,


deviation in gl
3.

what

is

the

of a body in air is 300.1 g; in water


Find the deviation in the value of its specific

The mass

200.2

g.

gravity.
4.

What

is

the deviation in the value of the velocity

501

cm.? V*=*2gh.
of liquid flow from a height of
mass of 100 g. is revolved with a speed of 80 cm.
5.

per second on the end of a cord 50 cm, long. The mass


measurements are 101, 100, 99; the speed measurements

THE PROPAGATION OF EBRGRS

51

Find
82, 80, 78; the length measurements 51, 49, 50.
the centrifugal force and its deviation.
6. Find the deviation in the mean of two quantities

which

differ

7. If

by C.
the deviation in log a,

is

what

is

the deviation

in a?
8.

In No.

2,

assume that the deviation found

is

an

average deviation, A.D. Express the result fractionally,


decimally, and as a probable error.
is

9. In determining a refractive index, the value of i


40db8', and of r 32db6'. Find the value of the index

and

its deviation.

In solving these problems, the student should observe


the relative effects of the deviations in the components

upon the result. In No. 2, for example, it will be seen


that a deviation in t is a much more serious matter than
an equal deviation in I. A laige number of problems
illustrating this process

may

be found in Goodwin's Pre-

cision of Measurements.

PROBLEMS
The

following

problems are

of

especial

interest

to

engineering students:

In the triangle ABC, A5=5GO'0.04' LA =32zblO',


/
Find EG and its deviation. The formula
for the area of a triangle with the given conditions should
be written down and the usual method employed. We
have the deviations given for the angles and need them for
the sines of the angles. For a deviation of 10 minutes
in 32 degrees, we find the deviation in the sine of 32 degrees
1.

ZC=604

THEOBY OF MEASUREMENTS

52

from that of 32 10'. Or


with respect to the angle.
2. In a triangle ABC, we have 4=240.40.04,
^0=290,6^0.003, /.4=442Q'dbr. Find the area and
Use both methods referred to above in dealits deviation.

by subtracting the

we may

sine of 32

differentiate

ing with the angle A.


3. The formula for the elastic modulus of a rectangular

bar supported at

its

ends

is

E= PP

where

is

the mass

applied at the center, I the length, d the deflection produced,


& and h the breadth and thickness. We have given the
following measurements:
6

0".331
0".333
0".329
0".33Q

0" 490
0" 492
0".491
0".490

0".206
0" 205
0".206
0".207

length two feet and P-40 Ibs.


Find E and its deviation.
4. Find the number of calories and its deviation, from

Take the

current of 6.20.06 amperes, through a resistance of


20it0.1 ohms, for 30 minutes (correct to a single second).
5. Observations on a resistance of about 10 ohms give

values as follows: Correct to 0.09%, correct to one part


in one hundred; a probable error of 0,001. Write these
down in the order of their relative reliabilities.
An interesting case of the effect of errors in observed

values upon derived values is found when the derived value


is the difference of two observed values, both of which are
large in comparison with their difference.
For example, the area of the datum circle of

a given plan-

THE PROPAGATION OF ERRORS.

53

is 2075 sq. cm,


A student by measurement obtains
the value of 2070 sq. cm., which is correct to less than
one-fourth of one per cent. The student then traces a given
figure with the fixed point at the "center of the figure and

imeter

the movable point moving in a counter-clockwise direction,


giving the reading 2010 sq. cm. The area of the figure is,
then, either

2075-2010=65
which

sq. cm., results

differ

sq.

cm., or

2070-2010=60

from each other by about eight

per cent.

THE CONVERSE PROBLEM


In the cases already considered, we have discussed the
effects of deviations in component measurements upon the
deviation in the result.

We

are

commonly

called

upon to

determine in advance to what degree of precision we shall


make our measurements in order to reach a given precision

For example, we are required to measure


the volume of a cylinder whose length is about 10 cm. and
whose radius is about 3 cm. with such a degree of accuracy
3
that the deviation in the volume (about 283 cm. ) shall
in our result.

not exceed 3 cm.3

It

is

customary to so adjust the devia-

tions pertaining to each variable that each will have


This is called the
effect upon the fma.1 result.

of equal

Representing the effects of the various

effects.

deviations upon the results

A2 =A 2 +A*2 +
we may write

an equal
method

A 2 =nAa2

by
.

4,,

A$,__.

A=AVn.

A*,

we have

In our probten

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

54

The

deviations in the length

separately produce a
2,1

cm.3

From our

and radius should not


area of more than

deviation in the

general equation, page 45,

we have

at

Therefore

51

= 0.074
"

'

or

We

cm.

**H

Likewise

VVT

J-V-XJ.\/

^I.JL.

Of

Of

UUiJL CHI.

we must measure the length of the


an
with
accuracy of 0.074 cm., and the radius
cylinder
with an accuracy of 0.011 cm.
conclude that

THE FRACTIONAL METHOD


These problems

may be

solved in another way. It


(not quite directly) from the method of equal
effects that the deviation in a final result due to a devia-

follows

tion in a component bears the


result as the deviation in the

ponent,

if

the exponent

is

same

relation to the final

component bears to the com-

unity.

In other words "T = T-

*^e component

has any

other exponent than unity, the fraction must be


multiplied
by the exponent, following the method of differentiation.
A
Of
have in the last problem
since the radius
-/=

We

A.

appears in the second power.


Since

Aj=Ar =p: we may

write

THE PROPAGATION OF ERROES

j=0.0074;

5Z

=0.074

0.0037;
-=JxO.OG74=
r

This

is

55

,=0.011.

seen to check with the former method.

PROBLEMS
With what accuracy must we measure the radius
a circle to obtain an accuracy of 0.1^ in the area?
1.

of

(First method.)
2.

With what accuracy should

a simple pendulum
unit?
3.

and

be measured in

to obtain a value of g correct to one

(Second method.)

With what accuracy should h and a be measured

with a spherometer to give a value in the radius correct


to
03%? This problem may be solved in a literal form
or values

computed,

These

be assigned to a and b and the result


(First or second method,)

may

are

illustrative

problems.

They

should

be

extended, so far as time permits, to include various problems

from

the student's laboratory note-book.

tance of this part of the subject

is

obvious.

The impor-

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

56

BEST MAGNITUDES AND BEST RATIOS

No

one can work very long in a physical laboratory


without observing that the results come out much bette

by using

and

certain magnitudes

ratios

than they do wit!

In measuring current with a tangent galvanom


eter very poor results would be obtained for angles betweei

others.

0-20

and

70~90.

Around

45, however, they

ar<

In using a slide-wire Wheatstone bridge


the two segments of the wire must be about equal foi
satisfactory.

satisfactory results.

In the

first case,

our formula
d(c tan 0)

is

I=c

tan

<j>.

cd&

Dividing

I
This

is

cos2 $

^
9

tan

<j>

sin

2<j>

a minimum when $=45 and shows that the deviadue to a deviation in


is least at 45.

tion in the result

<

For the Wheatstone bridge we may let #=the unknown


resistance, R the known, a and & the segments of the wire,
and c its total length.

Then

x~

aB

ca

THE PROPAGATION OF EliROHS

57

It should be easy for the student to prove that the best


result occurs

These

when a =6.

illustrations

might

be

indefinitely

The student is referred to Holman's Precision


ments, for a number of interesting problems.

extended.

of Measure-

EXERCISES
1.

Show

that the relative error in measuring the area

of a circle decreases with increasing radius.

In drawing a simple harmonic motion curve, discuss


the effect of an error in the phase upon the displacement
2.

on the curve.
down an inclined plane for a definite
Discuss the effect of an error in measur-

for various points


3.

body

rolls

period of time.
ing the angle of the plane upon the error in velocity.

Neglect
4.

friction.

How

would an error of one minute in measuring the

angle of incidence compare with a similar error in measuring the angle of refraction in their effect upon the refrac-

Take i=45

tive index?
5.

What

is

the

"

and r=3Q.

best value

"

of the limiting angle in

ABC

measuring the coefficient of friction?


6.

In LamFs theorem

sin

take

-4=59.8, 5=69.8,

=146,

sin$

C =102.8,

=139, T =75.

Discuss the effect upon each term of an error of

measuring

a, ft

and

7.

0.5

in

CHAPTER

VI

PLOTTING
It may be assumed that students for
book was prepared have a knowledge of the
fundamental principles of curve tracing. A few familiar
definitions and illustrations will, however, be given.
Definitions.

whom

this

a graphic representation of the relation of


quantities of which one is a function of the other.
The origin is the point of departure from which all distances
plot is

two

are reckoned.

The

and

coordinates are horizontal

distances from the origin.

The

vertical

axis of abscissas is the

horizontal line through the origin. The axis of ordinates


The slope of the
is the vertical line through the origin.

the angle it makes with the #-axis.


When the points for a curve have been established,

curve

is

there are two methods of procedure: If the curve appears


to be regular or to correspond with well-known types,
we should draw an average line through the points in such

a manner that about


the other.

If the

as

many will

curve does not

the adjacent points

should

be

lie

on one

fulfill

side as

on

these conditions,

connected

by

straight

lines.

58

PLOTTING

59

EXERCISES
In these
as to the

1.

exercises, the

method

student should use his judgment

be followed.

Plot a simple interest curve for $100 for ten years

at 5 per cent.
2. Plot a

same

to

compound

interest curve starting

from the

origin.

The maximum temperature


month was as follows:
3.

for

each day of a certain

Plot the curve.

Compute the mean temperature for the month in


No. 3, and plot a curve showing the departure from the mean
4.

for each day.


5.

The

following plot will afford

as instruction:

amusement as

well

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

60

6.

when

thermometer

calibrated

is

found to have the following errors

by means

of a standard:

10+0.03
12 -0.60
18 -0.45
22 -0.38
30 +0.71

Draw

a.

curve of errors for the thermometer.

Determination of Constants.
of a straight

Let us take the equation

line,

<

By

definition

is

the tangent of the angle which the

PLOTTING
line

makes with the

mines

the constant
..

^^

This

When 2=0,

b.

fr\*

to Mierpret;

is

equal to a and deter-

#==&.

T^B (determines

ri'Tt

c*
Rearrangement;
^3 y\
T?

ficult
it

s-axis.

this 'o&stant.

61

^A

IttCfp
i/vi%#
*

^Y* * **
^dkfetMies happens that
&****L^

whileia ^^SfeS^&nent

perfectly intelligible.

of-

'%fi

data makes

iMor example, a|$3^ of readings

have been taken

wpt^^^^feliaw apparatus, the r^ulting curve should be ^o. equilateral hyperbola (p#=a). It
will be found, however, that the readings one is ordinarily
able to obtain are not sufficient to identify the curve. If
we change the data and plot v and 1/p we get a straight line.
In a tangent galvanometer the formula is I=k tan <.

In order to get a series of variations in the current we


introduce varying resistances. Since I=E/R, it follows
that the reciprocals of the resistances will plot a straight
line

with tan

<

EXERCISES
1. The following data come from an experiment with
the Boyle s law apparatus:
j

THEOEY OF MEASUREMENTS

62

Discus the aceurac3 of the observations from the plot.


2. The following table is made up from resistances
and corresponding deflections with a tangent galvanometer:
r

Assume that we have a constant electromotive force


and make a plot which will show the relation between
a.

the current and the defection.

I=k

tan

6,

I=E/B.

Plot the resistances with the cotangents of the angles


and project until it cuts the #-axis. Interpret the curve.
b.

Find the value of E by Ohm's law.


Known volumes of a liquid were placed in a flask
and weighed, giving data as follows:
c.

3.

PLOTTING
Plot the volume on the

-axis

gg

and the masses on the

Find the mass of the flask from the plot.


Find the specific gravity of the liquid.
4. Two rulers were placed together at random and the
reading on the centimeter scale was taken opposite each
inch division on the English scale, giving data:
a.
5.

Plot the inch readings on the z-axis and the centimeter


readings on the y-axis.
a. Determine from the plot how the rulers were placed

with reference to each other,


b. Find the ratio of the centimeter and inch by using
the intercepts of the curve on the axes; also by using the
ratio of the difference of
5.

The candle-power

measured
follows:

for

two points 2/2^1 and xz x^


of a 16-c.p v 110-v. lamp was

different voltages- across

the terminals as

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

64

Plot volts on x and candle-powers on


a. Find candle-power at 110 v.

t/-axis.

6.

Find candle-power at 220 v.

c.

Is it possible to estimate the voltage at

filament

first

which the

begins to glow?

6. The elongation of a spring was measured for different loads, and the energy stored in the spring computed,
giving data:

PLOTTING
Plot loads (x) with elongations (?0 and energy
Compute the constant of the spring (g/cm).

(t/).

a.
b.

We

have

TF=

Interpret this equation and compare with the curve.


the area between the load-elongation
c. Compute

What does this represent?


resistance
of lead at various temperatures
electrical

curve and the z-axis.

The

indicated
zero at

by means
273

C.

of

a plot that the resistance would be

The

Eamerlingh Onnes have


7

recent experiments of

Professor

justified this conclusion,

Plot the above, taking inches on the x-axis and centf-

66

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

Draw an average straight line


y-axis.
the
test
and
its accuracy by reference to
points
through
the equation 2r = 0, when the various perpendicular distances
meters on the

from the points to the line are expressed by ri, r^ etc.


Repeat the exercise, using the weights assigned above. Correct the line bv use of the results obtained.

CHAPTER

VII

NEGLIGIBILITY
It is of the utmost importance that stuImportance.
dents in laboratory courses should come to know under

what conditions they are

at liberty to neglect small


student who
quantities which appear in their work.
comes into physics from courses in mathematics is con-

just

scious of

a decided shock when he is told to throw away


an equation. It is hoped that a few illus-

certain terms in

trations, will convince

him that such a

process

is

not at

all

unscientific or inaccurate.

We learn in trigonometry that the sine, tangent, and


radian value of an angle may be used interchangeably if
the angle is small. The following table will make this
clear:

67

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

68

most purposes very little error


from substituting the radian measure or the

It will be seen that for

would

result

tangent for the

sine.

EXERCISES
Construct a circle with radius unity. Take an
and draw an arc and a chord.
angle of 60 at the center
Call the arc dx and the chord dy (equal to the radius).
1.

Find the value of the arc by radians

(-*-),

and the chord

In this case <&/ = ! and dx = 1.0472.


Find relation between dx and dy for 30, 10, 5, and 1.
2, What is the largest angle for which dx=dy to four

by the law

of sines.

places of decimals?

The Pendulum Formula. In deducing the formula


we make use of an approximation,

for the simple pendulum,

so that the equation

T=2irVl/g

is

not quite correct.

The

equation

tends to diminish the error as more and

more terms are

used.

HereK = 2'.
EXERCISE

Give

6 values of

60, 10

and

and assume that the

longer formula gives the correct value of g. Find the


error in each case due to using the shorter formula. Remember that g appears as a square root.

NEGLIGIBILITY

69

The Mirror Formula. In developing the formula for


the circular mirror a similar approximation is noted. By
using a parabolic mirror no approximation appears.
EXERCISES
that light starting from the focus of a paraboloid of revolution will go in parallel lines upon reflection

Show

1.

from any part

of the mirror.

2
Construct a parabola whose equation is j/ =4j>x.
a
circle
this
whose
Construct
internally tangent to
equa2
2rx=0. Let r=2p. Select points along
tion is a^+y
the axis distant r/4, r/2 3r/4 and r from the origin.
Find the value of y on the circle and the corresponding
value of y on the parabola in each case. The relation of
2.

these values

may be

used to measure the error due to the

approximate on.
3-

Find the angular aperture at the center of the

circle

for each point taken.

Approximate Squares and Square Roots.

There

is

short method of squaring numbers and extracting their


square roots which involves an approximation, Let us

take the number 1.01 and consider


If

we

it

made up

of 1.0+0.01.

square this by use of the binomial theorem,

we have

1+0.02+0.0001 = 1.0201.
1.02, If, therefore, we square
twice the second term, we have
a rale for squaring such numbers as these. The square
of 1.0019 is 1.0038036, to which 1.0038 is a cbse approxl-

This
our

is

first

nearly equal

to

term and add

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

70
matioa.

If the

whole number

is

any other than unity,

its

value must be multiplied into the smaller term.


By a similar process we may find the square root of
1.04 to be 1.02, and that of 4.04 to be 2.01.

The

The

Slide Rule

an instrument that gives approximate

slide rule is

values and well illustrates the principle of negligibility.

The

following table shows its accuracy for certain processes:

The

student should note the differences in the

The Value

places.
Follies

Much

of *.

obtaining values of

TT

energy has been expended in

correct to a large

It has been carried out to

of Science

by

% of deviation,

Phin.)

If

number

707 places.
TT

is

carried

of decimal

(See Seven

out to

six

or seven places, it is sufficient for all purposes.


The
value Z\ will answer for the majority of cases. It will

prove convenient to remember that


approximation.

?r

= 9.87

to a very close

NEGLIGIBILITY

71

PROBLEMS
1. Find the error due to
using the value 31 carried out
to four decimal places, for TC,
2. Find the error due to using the value 9.87 for T2
,

when

carried out to four places.


3.
are accustomed to assume in physics that the
coefficient of cubical expansion of a solid is three times
TT is

We

that of the linear expansion. What error does this involve


when a bar of brass, 100 cm. long at
C. is heated to
100 C.?
7

The error involved in using a mirror and scale (Poggendorffs method) is discussed in Stewart and Gee's Practical
PhysicSj Vol. I, p. 55.
CRITERIA FOR NEGLIBILITY
It often happens that in

series of

measurements of

the same quantity, there are one or more values which do


not compare well with the others. The question arises,
what shall be done with these observations? They seem

to have been taken with equal care with the others, and
there seems to be no particular reason for rejecting them.
Several criteria have been proposed for testing such observations.

The Htige

Error.

We

find

the

mean and

average
deviation (aA) omitting the doubtful observation; then
find the difference between the doubtful observation and

the mean, and if this equals or


should be rejected.

is

greater than 4 a.d,,

Suppose we have a set of measurements:


The last measurement is questionable.

9, 12.

10,

9,

it

10,

The meaa

THEOBY OF MEASUREMENTS

72
is 9.5.

4X0.5=2.0.

12-9.5=2,5.

a.ct=0.5.

urement should be

The meas-

rejected.

PROBLEM
The

following length measurements (centimeters) have


Apply the
60.1, 60.2 7 60.3, 59.9, 58.3, 63.1.

been taken:

method to the last two results.


Chauvenefs Criterion. This
method.

We may

let

is

more

limiting error (x) and the probable error of


If there are n errors, we may
tion (r).
will

be the number

less

elaborate

stand for the ratio between the

than

x,

single observa-

assume that

nP

and n-~nP the number

greater than x.

Then, by definition

'

2ra

We have
~*dt.

If

we equate

these

a value

of

common

values of

two values

of

corresponding to

n are given:

P and

(See page 15.)

solve,

we may

find

few

any value of n.

NEGLIGIBILITY

xtr

Since the limiting error,


two values and compare,

73

we have

only to find

these

Let us take the following data:

The mean

is

13

12 7 13, 12 13 ; 13, 15.


;

and

nl
For

The

n=6, t=2.57

z=fr=1.9.

deviation of the term in question

is

2.0 and it should

be rejected.

PROBLEM
The

following observations were taken with a transit,

43

52' 26".4

28
27
28
31
30
27
Test such observations as

.5
.8
.0
.3

.2
.9

may

be necessary by Chan-

venet's Criterion.
Criterion far Negligibility for Deviation in

When
but

little

the deviation

in

Components

any component contributes


it is sometimes

to the deviation in the result,

proper to neglect

it

altogether.

We know

in the final result,


.

A,

that the error

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

74

Suppose A 2

is

Let

the quantity under investigation.

where A 22 has been omitted.


in the result
A0 = the reduction in the deviation
to be anyvalue
this
assume
We
may
due to omitting A2.
we
the
require.
accuracy
thing we please, depending upon
as some authors suggest, that it be equal to
If we

insist,

or less than TVA,

But

we have

A 2 2 =A2 "-A

=A2 (1-0.92)=0.19A2

We may thus neglect

a deviation

0.43 of the total deviation of


criterion could, of course,

if it

contributes less than

the result.

more

rigid

be determined by substituting

a smaller value for the TVSignificant Figures. This

is

a subject that

may be

head of negligibility. At each


properly treated under the
the student should look
stage in a series of measurements
over bis work and eliminate such figures as lend nothing
to its precision. A rather full treatment of this subject
to which
given in Holman's Precision of Measurements,
the student is referred.
The following rules of precision are given:
is

1.

When

a rejected figure

is

five or over, increase

previous figure by one.


If we decide to drop the 7 in 14.637,
it

14.64.

we should

the

write

NEGLIGIBILITY
2.

In the deviation measure,

Thus

significant figures.

a.d.

75

we should

= 0.062;

retain

two

r=1.6.

In our measured quantity^ we should retain places


corresponding to the second significant figure in the devia3.

tion measure.

TO =368.731:4:0.21

becomes 368.73,

m= 406.67^2.6 becomes 406.7.


4. In adding quantities, retain such places as correspond to the number having the largest deviation measure.

6126.49

5o

In multiplication and division, find the quantity

whose

is

precision

if

figures;

if

From

this find the percentage

per cent or more, use four significant


between 1 and 0.1 per cent use five significant
between 0.1 and 0.01 per cent, use six significant

and

figures;

the greatest.
if this is 1

figures.
If

we have

we note
As

that

to multiply
is

41.60.4 by 590.250.06,

greater for the first than for the second.

this is less than 1 per

cent,

we

should retain five

nificant figures, giving 24566 as a result.

sig-

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

76

PROBLEMS

We

have given the number 504.628 with the foldeviation measures: A.ZX = 0.21; r= 0.031; correct to one part in one hundred; correct to two per cent.
What is the proper expression for the number in each case?
1.

lowing

2.

Add
21.42 zfcO.61

aS8.161iO.042
543.1
3.

d=1.5

Multiply

630.450.62 by

25.635dbO.024.

CHAPTER YUI
EMPIRICAL FORMULAE AND CONSTANTS
Definitions. A mathematical formula is one that is deduced by a process of reasoning along mathematical lines.
The formula for the distance passed over ;by a falling body is

an

illustration.

S=vot+%af* is derived from certain definitions of


velocity and acceleration, to which mathematical processes
have been applied.
An empirical formula cannot be derived in this manwhich
ner, but depends upon the results of experiments
The
to
be
described.
manner
a
in
following
are treated
is

a typical empiricalJformula:

0=980.6056-2.5028 cos 2Z-0.000003fc.


This has been made up from a large number of measmrelatitude (Z) and
g under various conditions of

ments of

altitude (K).

In order to explain the method employed in constructing


empirical formulae, let us take an experiment illustrating
the relation of the space passed over
to the time of

by a

falling

body,

fall.

77

THEOEY OF MEASUREMENTS

78

The

following

may

be assumed to be the results of the

experiment:
*

The obvious
disregarded,

16

and s will be
endeavor to find an empirical

relation existing

and we

will

between

FIG. 8

formula which

fits

Our

the conditions.

first

step

is

to

plot a curve.
This is seen to have the characteristics of a parabola

and we write the general equation,


y==

x has been

S+Tx+Ux2 +

substituted for

t,

found observation equations:

etc.

and y for

s.

From

this are

EMPIKICAL FORMULAE AND CONSTANT?

16=5+47+1617
The normal

equations are:

30=45+107+30
100 = 105 +30

r+ 100 U

354=30S+100!T+354C7

When

these equations are solved,

we have

U=l
T=0
and our equation becomes y=x2
If the experimenter had used only three seconds and
had recorded an 8 instead of a 9, the values would have
.

been
17=0.5

7=1.5

S=-1.0
Giving

Upon

y=-l+1.5ar+0.5A

repeating the experiment as the space measurement

approaches closer to 9 this formula approaches the value

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

80

While no one would think of actually applying this


it affords a good illustration

method to so simple a case,


of the manner in which all

empirical formulae are con-

structed.

Classes of Curves.

common

The

following

are

curves from which these formulae

some

of the

may be

con-

structed, together with their formulae and illustrations:


1.

Straight

x=y.

line.

mm

2. Parabolic.

y=S+Tx+Ux

3. Cyclic.
J

y=S

4.

Logarithmic.

2/

5.

Hyperbolic.

The formula
trate the

+,

etc.

+ T sin ^x+ T' cos x+

= &eox

etc.

xy=a.

for velocity

first class.

due to gravity, v=gt,

The space passed over by a

illus-

falling

body, the change in velocity of a river below its surface,


and the growth of the United States in population, illustrate
the second class. Cyclic curves may be used to represent
the rise and

fall

of temperature, pressure,

and humidity

through a given interval. The logarithmic curve represents


plots made from Newton's law of cooling, the absorption
of light for varying thicknesses, and the gain due to compound interest. A familiar example of a hyperbolic curve
is

afforded

by Boyle's law, pv=ct.

tangular hyperbola.
Rules. The method of procedure
in the following rules:
1. Write the observation equation.
2, Plot the curve.

This

will plot

may

be summarized

rec-

EMPIRICAL FORMULAE AND CONSTANTS

81

the curve and write its equation.


the normal equations.
5. Solve for the unknowns, and these give the values
of the constants sought.
3. Identify

4.

Form

It will be observed that every additional observation


taken alters the values of the constants.

EXERCISES AND PROBLEMS


For the

straight

line

and rectangular hyperbola an

inspection of the data is generally sufficient to determine


the value of the constant.

For the parabola the following examples should be


studied:

1.

on the

Vertical velocity curve


Depth.
.

Velocity

depth

3 1950 feet per second


.

0.1

3.2299

0.2

3.2532

0.3

3.2611

0.4

3.2516

0.5

3.2282

0.6

3.1807

0.7

3.1266

0.8

3.0594

0.9

2.9759

The curve is

Mississippi river.

obviously a parabola*

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

82

The

first

two observation equations are


3.1950
3.2299 =S+0.1ZH-0.01*7.

Write down the remaining eight observation equations,


form the normalsj and solve. The results are

5=3.19513

r= 0.44253
7 =-0,7653,

giving the formula

7 = 3.19513 +0.44253Z- 0.7653Z2

FIG

9.

It will prove of interest to determine the velocity for


each depth and compare with that obtained by experiment.
(Why should they fail to check?)
2. The growth in the population of the United States
is a good illustration of this curve, although from the nature
In Popular
of the case the results are not very reliable.

Science Monthly for April, 1910, page 382, a set of curves


are drawn for various countries. It will be seen that Sweden

and Norway, Turkey, Spain, and Italy may be


resented by straight

lines.

The United

fairly repStates shows an

EMPIRICAL FORMULAE AND CONSTANTS

63

In the article referred


easily recognised parabola.
complete solution of the census problem is given.

to the

3.

The

following illustrates

for

Substitute

Use the

first

cyclic curve:

m x in the equation

and

plot the curve,

and form an observation equation


We have for the first four observa-

three terms

for each value of

6.

tion equations:

38=S+T sin 20+T cos 20


51=S+T sin 40+T' cos 40
64=S+T sin GQ+T' cos 60
7

7'

Normal equations for S, T and I are formed from these


and their solution supplies the values of the constants in
,

the formula.
4.

We may

use Winkeknann's data showing the rela-

THEORY OF MEASUREMENTS

84

tion between the temperature of a cooling

body

at differ-

ent times, as an illustration of a logarithmic curve.

18 9

3 45

L6 9
14,9

10 85

19 30

28 80
40.10
53.75
^0.95

12 9
10 9

8 9

6.9

The logarithmic relations of these quantities is not


obvious by direct inspection. It is reached by the following process: We assume that the ratio at which a body
dQ) is proportional to the difference between
(
temperature and that of its surroundings. This is ex-

loses heat
its

pressed

By

by

definition of specific heat

Substitute this in the equation above

d9

^7=a0, where

at

From

this

we

get

a=

k
s

by integrating
logZ>

Iog0=a,

and

EMPIBICAL FORMULAE AND CONSTANTS

Now

if 0i

represents temperature at time

perature at time

2,

t\ 9

and

02

85

tem-

we have
log 6

log 0! = aii ;

log b

log 02 = afe;

a= -

From which

C2--&1

/j

log

~*
01

for 0i
Take 2 = 19.9 and substitute the values of
and show that a is a constant, approximately equal to

0.0065.

Such an equation
quantity

is

as "~"ji

==<z

where the change in a

proportional to the quantity

a " compound interest equation."

itself,

is called

INDEX
PAGE

Adjustment of Observations
Approximate Squares and Square Roots

22
69
17
42
56
72

...
Arithmetical Mean
Average Deviation
Best Magnitudes and Best Ratios

Chauvenet's Criterion
Constant Interval ....
Constants in an Equation
Empirical Formulae and Constants
Errors Classes of
Fractional

.17
60
77

....

3
54

Method

Huge Error

...

Least Squares
Mean Square Error

Measurements

Classes of

2
67
24
58
39
42
4
9
14
48

Negligibility

Normal Equations
Plotting
Precision of Observations

...

Probable Error
Probability

Probability Curve

Probability Integral.
Propagation of Errors
.

Propagation of Errors Converse Problem


Residuals
Short Methods of Adjustment

Significant Figures,
Slide Rule

Value

of

71
16
41

..

Weighting
87

53
12
34
74
70
70
18

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