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An Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements 2nd Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0935702750
ISBN-10: 093570275X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A high-quality resource [students] can continue to learn from, even after they graduate. --Physics Today

Score a hit! The book reveals the exceptional skill of the author as lecturer and teacher. --The Physics Teacher

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 327 pages
  • Publisher: University Science Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093570275X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935702750
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew M. Yau on September 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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 this 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, you should consider preparing yourself for 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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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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 exposed to. It is also fair to bet that anyone working in these disciplines has encountered these topics early on in their professional careers, as they are usually the first ones presented to incoming freshman in beginning engineering and physics laboratories. When performing elementary laboratory experiments, beginning students find out right away that their results do not match the perfections of textbook equations. Experimental apparatus is never infinitely precise and frequently mistakes are made in experimental work repeatedly and unknowingly by the experimentalist, engineer, or scientist. Errors and uncertainties accompany any experiment that is conducted in the real world, and how to deal with them is the subject of error analysis, which is now called "uncertainty quantification" in more modern parlance. This subject is vast and in many ways very controversial, and modern technological developments have instigated a lot of research in this area.

This excellent book gives an elementary overview of the techniques of error analysis that touches on topics such as uncertainty, propagation of errors, and systematic error. Readers will only require a rudimentary background in mathematics and statistics in order to read and study it. Numerous "quick" practice exercises are embedded in the main text, giving readers immediate challenges to their understanding as they read the text. Problem sets accompany each chapter, and they reflect the kinds of problems that one would encounter in real practice.
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