A batteryresistor analogy for further insights on measurement uncertainties
Abstract
We use analogies to provide introductory laboratory students intuition into measurement uncertainties. Using a batteryresistor circuit we discuss uncertainty concepts and derive expressions for uncertainty of the mean and sums of uncertainties. Finally, we draw attention to the fact that the interpretation of standard deviation as uncertainty depends on the statistical distribution of the data, while the interpretation of uncertainty of the mean is largely insensitive to such distribution, especially for large samples. If the resistor in the batteryresistor circuit is a resistive loudspeaker, the uncertainty or noise is literally the acoustic power of the sound produced by such noise. In the sound analogy the statistical distribution of the noise is related to its timbre.
 Publication:

Physics Education
 Pub Date:
 September 2018
 DOI:
 10.1088/13616552/aac84b
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1611.03425
 Bibcode:
 2018PhyEd..53e5001D
 Keywords:

 Physics  Physics Education
 EPrint:
 13 pages, 6 figures