Physics307L F09:Schedule/Week 4 agenda/Terminology/Errors
We'll use "error" and "uncertainty" interchangeably (as w/ Taylor)
Observational error is the difference between a measured value of quantity and its "true value."
(not a "mistake")
You almost never know the true value
Systematic error is a non-random bias in the measurements
(e.g., a mis-calibrated scale)
Random error is un-biased deviations from the "true value"
An experimentalist's goals are to (A) identify and reduce systematic error as much as possible and (B) characterize random error