Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kids these days...

So I went to an informal seminar talk given by a junior graduate student in my area of experimental physics. In this talk (which was mostly mumbling I might add) some graphs were presented displaying some very nice power-law scalings for a couple of runs. But as far as I could see there were no error bars on the experimentally measured data points, and no uncertainties expressed in the power-law scaling relations. I asked him about it during the questions and he gave an uncertainty of less than 10% which is pretty darned good. To get an error of less than 10% is difficult in most experiments and worth advertising. Anyways, after the talk he said "Count on you to ask about technica details". I was stunned. Measurement uncertainties are a TECHNICAL DETAIL? For an EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICIST? Shame... Shame... Kids these days... what can ya do?


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