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An Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements [Hardcover]

John R. Taylor
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 10, 1997 0935702423 978-0935702422 2nd
The need for error analysis is captured in the book's arresting cover shot - of the 1895 Paris train disaster (also available as a wall poster). The early chapters teach elementary techniques of error propagation and statistical analysis to enable students to produce successful lab reports. Later chapters treat a number of more advanced mathematical topics, with many examples from mechanics and optics. End-of-chapter problems include many that call for use of calculators or computers, and numerous figures help readers visualize uncertainties using error bars. "Score a hit! ...the book reveals the exceptional skill of the author as lecturer and teacher...a valuable reference work for any student (or instructor) in the sciences and engineering." The Physics Teacher "This is a well written book with good illustrations, index and general bibliography...The book is well suited for engineering and science courses at universities and as a basic reference text for those engineers and scientists in practice." Strain, Journal of the British Society for Strain Measurement

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An Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements + Radiation Detection and Measurement + Nuclear Reactor Analysis
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Editorial Reviews


Score a hit! The book reveals the exceptional skill of the author as lecturer and teacher. -- The Physics Teacher<br /><br />a high-quality resource [students] can continue to learn from, even after they graduate. Physics Today --Physics Today

About the Author

John Taylor is Professor of Physics and Presidential Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has won numerous teaching awards, served as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physics, and received an Emmy Award for his television series called "Physics 4 Fun." Taylor is the author of three best-selling textbooks.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 327 pages
  • Publisher: University Science Books; 2nd edition (March 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0935702423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935702422
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy-To-Read Text on Error Analysis September 11, 2000
Many undergraduate students in sciences and engineering must have encountered this experience: You conduct an experiment and collect the relevant data. You are asked to fit your data into a straight line by performing one or multiple linear regression. You are also to present any uncertainty and error in your data as well as calculation. You panic and scratch your head and don't know what's the appropriate procedure to carry out these analysis.
Here comes John Taylor's "An Introduction to Error Analysis", which introduces the study of uncertainties to students. The book assumes no prior knowledge and uses a plethora of pertinent examples (drawn from chemistry, physics, and engineering) to illustrate topics like propagation of uncertainties, random uncertainties, rejection of data, least-squares fitting, and distribution.
This book will save hours of studying and researching on error analysis method. It is very well-written and reader-friendly that lower division students will find it useful.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! March 28, 2000
By A Customer
I bought the first edition of this book as an engineering graduate student in the early '80s, and it sparked my enduring fascination with statistical methods. I'm a software engineer with a major statistical software firm now, and I still refer to my copy regularly.
When I purchased the second edition this year for my son, who is a junior in college, I doubted that it could improve on the original.
I was wrong. John Taylor has outdone himself. The new examples are superb enhancements of an already outstanding text.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great "second pass" book January 2, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even if you have achieved a high level of mathematical sophistication, this book is a great read. I find myself gaining great new insights to basic principles due to Taylor's logical developments. This is simply the best available introductory text on error analysis.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle introduction to data and error analysis June 24, 2003
By Peltio
Taylor's book is simply amazing.
In little more than three hundred pages it manages to explain in a crystal clear manner concepts such as the propagation of errors (starting from simple cases and moving to the general treatment), the meaning of the standard deviation of the population, of the sample and of the mean, the maximum likelihood principle, hypothesis test and confidence levels, the chi squared test and the meaning of correlation.
True, this is not a textbook on mathematical statistic, so you won't find elaborate proofs here: much is left to the reader's intuition. But as the saying goes, 'is not a bug, it's a feature!'. This text makes you understand what all those books on statistics and probability are about (or at least some of their most important applications) and it does it so well that you will reach the end of each chapter asking yourself "oh, that was it?".
Part of the book is devoted to application of error analysis and you will find chapters on weighted means, on the rejection of data, plus linear and nonlinear regression. The exercises are intriguing and all in all this is a very well written book.
Even if you plan to study the matter deeper, on tougher textbooks, please consider preparing yourself to the tougher mathematical stuff by reading this wonderful book. You won't regret it. And possibly, you will come back to it from time to time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Reference June 21, 2003
I had to get this book because it was one of the texts required for an undergradute physics course in data analysis. It turns out to have been a very useful book. I've used it as reference, for among other things, analyzing data collected for a port development project in Pusan, South Korea, developing software used for medical diagnostics equipment, and, most recently, in developing financial software.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book February 17, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a must have book for any one looking for introductory level. Its language is very easy, contents are very rich, full of solved example and illustrations. what i like the most is that you can read it quick and learn the subject yourself. I bought this one along with Robinson's book but for some reason I was slow reading Robinson's so I decided to switch to this one and found it very easy to read and grasp. each chapter end with summary so you can review what you learned quick. Chapters also has check points to ensure you really understand the key ideas.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent desktop reference February 12, 2004
As a professional engineer with a recurring need to crunch large amounts of statistical data, I find that this book is the perfect quick guide to things that forget and don't use that often. If has easy to follow language, and the best part about it is that I don't need to reread the whole thing to get a good explanation of a topic in the last chapter.
I had to knock it down a star because it is a touch out of date. The math is fine, but I wish that there was a companion that explained how to do some of the more uncommon operations using common spreadsheeting or data analysis software. Sometimes, figuring out how to get MS Excel to do what Taylor recommends that I do can be more cumbersome than anything else.
If nothing else, it has a great picture on the cover.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars useful in biology too July 10, 2000
Students in our cell biology laboratory use this book frequently to help us analyze our data. For example there is an excellent discussion about the difference between standard error and standard error of the mean. While it is aimed at undergraduate physicists and engineers, it will be practical for (and easily digested by) biologists as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Book was a little beat up for being new, but the content is very good.
The book was a nice review on error analysis and covered the Gaussian, Binomial, and Poisson Distributions very nicely. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Tom Mozdzen
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book, but I hated the experimental physics class.
Taylor is a great author, you should read some of his other physics books as well if you are interested in the subject. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncertain errors
It's okay to analyse an error but it's more important to know how, when and where the error was created in the first place.
Published 4 months ago by the ALIEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book to learn the calculation of uncertainties
The author explains step by step how to calculate uncertainties. It is not a difficult book to read. I like it.
Published 4 months ago by Student
5.0 out of 5 stars Required supplementary text
This is the first statistics book that presents the development of confidence estimates for functions of random variables, albeit only for one dimensional variables. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lawrence L. Woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars Statistics for science labs
If you have ever taken a statistics course but don't know how to apply statistical analysis to experiments, this is the book for you. Read more
Published 12 months ago by dnparadice
5.0 out of 5 stars A topic of greatest importance
The contents of this book provide beyond doubt the most important topics an applied mathematician, physicist, engineer, or anyone working in any quantitative discipline can be... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Dr. Lee D. Carlson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Introduction
Very readable book with nice examples. Students in the sciences and engineering do not talk about error analysis enough. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Maggie Essington
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as described
I bought this book for my husband for Christmas...His request! Weird! I guess it takes all kinds to make the world go round. Read more
Published 17 months ago by houseonthehill
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of Error Analysis!
Any one in any physics course should own this book. It outlines in detail all you will need to know for the first three years of University physics labs.
Published 19 months ago by Reed
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