Treatment of Experimental Data

Treatment of Experimental Data

Treatment of Experimental Data

Treatment of Experimental Data

Excerpt

This book is in part a consequence of a long series of irritations on the part of the senior author. During the course of years he encountered too often tables of unsmoothed values, tables without descriptive legends or with inadequate legends, graphs with poorly chosen coordinate scales, graphs without accompanying descriptive legends and occasionally without indication as to what the coordinates themselves represented, references to the significance of a so-called knee of a curve when the location of the knee was a function of the chosen coordinate scales, lack of understanding of how to determine, to express, and to apply precision indexes, blind faith in a least squares computation regardless of the assumptions and limitations, and many other faults which may be remedied with reasonable effort. For several years, this author has offered a course for graduate students entitled Treatment of Experimental Data in which such matters among others have been discussed. The present textbook is an outgrowth of that course.

This book has been written with the physicist, the chemist, and the engineer in mind. The authors feel that, for a very large percentage of them, the book has a worth-while message. Although obviously the discussions are necessarily rather mathematical, considerable effort has been made to keep physical situations in mind throughout.

We have generally steered away from the statistical treatment of quantum mechanics on the one hand and of business and educational theory on the other hand. We do, however, include a chapter on correlation.

As determinants shorten and simplify many treatments, they have been used in discussions wherever convenient. Recognizing, however, that many users of this text may need to have their memories refreshed with regard to methods of use, A Brief Discussion of Determinant Methods has been included as Appendix 1. In the discussion there given, particular attention has been paid to the processes of setting up, simplifying, and evaluating and to their application in solving simultaneous equations and in determining the equations of curves. The convenience obtained and the time saved by the use of determinants should be better known.

The text, despite much care, probably contains many errors. Some of them undoubtedly reflect lack of knowledge on the part of the authors . . .

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