Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

E. W. Scripture, 
we introduce an uncertainty corresponding to a mean error of 0.25/? 
in the whole numbers, whereas by retaining the 6, the uncertainty 
corresponds to only 0.08/3 in the unit-place or to 0.8/3' in the first 
decimal place, being a gain corresponding to 0.17/8. Rounding 
off to 212.7 adds an uncertainty of 0.25/3' in the first decimal place, 
giving a total of 0.83/8' + 0.25/3'=1.08/8' for that place or 0.108/8 for 
unit-place, being a loss corresponding to 0.028. Since under any 
circumstances the loss would have to be 0.025/8, the writing of 212.67 
has practically no advantage over 212.7. 
The case is different when the uncertainty of the values is not due 
simply to the omission of decimal places. Let the measure of the 
uncertainty of a value x be denoted by ± Aæ. Then the uncertainty 
of the average of n results will be given by 
± Aæ 
The mean error is the most convenient measure of uncertainty. 
Under very favorable conditions the record of the Hipp chrono- 
scope1 * is liable to a mean error of A*=1.5'7. The average of 9 
records is reliable to 0.5^. To obtain a result numerically precise 
to 1°, i. e. with a mean error of 0.25^, it would be necessary to have 
36 original records. 
Thus, if a body, e. g. a control-hammer, were known to fall with 
perfect constancy, 36 records with the chronoscrope would be re¬ 
quired to determine its time of fall to lff. 
Dependence on characteristic variations. The result of a set of 
direct measurements is stated to be A±d, A±m or A±r. The 
quantity d is the mean variation or mean error, m is the mean- 
square-error and r is the half probable variation or probable error. 
These characteristic variations are determined from the formulas 
r—0.674y/t)'’1 + w 
>+(«,)+ • • • 
+ (0, 
Vw(w— i) 
, 1 
V+<+• • 
. +v„3 
/«,• + «,■+ • • 
. +ü„s 
n— 1 
In these formulas the signs ± have the meanings usually given 
them in works on adjustment. 
1 K/ülpe and Kirscbmann, Ein neuer Apparat zum Contrôle zeitmessender Instru¬ 
mente, Phil. Stud., 1892 VII 145.


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