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Re: [Phys-l] propagation of error (or not)

On 06/01/2009 01:55 PM, alex brown wrote:
I require a book on lab\practical practises and techniques including
error propagation at under graduate level. We used one at UCL
(London), but can't remember the name of it apart from it being very

I've never seen a good book on the subject ... and I've seen quite
a few absolutely horrendous ones.

Most of them I consider sophomoric, by which I mean lacking in breadth
of experience, lacking in depth of understanding, tending to mistake
the easy case for the general case, and blissfully ignorant of their
own limitations.

I recommend
-- starting with a review of basic probability, without which no real
understanding of uncertainty is possible
-- then introducing "crank three times" in a single-variable situation
-- then proceeding to "crank three times" in a multivariate situation
-- then proceeding to a simple Monte Carlo

Yes, I omitted any mention of manual / algebraic / analytical propagation
of error from this list. That was completely intentional. Such techniques
may work in end-of-chapter problems, but almost never in real life.

For the next level of detail on all this, see

Thanks for any advice and apologies if this is not the correct place.

This is probably as good a place as any. Certainly there are people
on this list who know what they're talking about.

I do not leke to rely on the reviews on Amazon to make a decision

That is good, healthy skepticism.