Measurement and Data Analysis

        By definition, the search for truth is the vocation of 
   every scientist.  In no other profession are the demands for 
   "complete" integrity and honesty more stringent and absolute.
   The "scientific method" is an important set of guidelines 
   against which the scientist constantly assess the status and
   progress of ideas.  No matter how exciting or controversial,
   all new insights and observations must be "testable" and 
   "verifiable" according to the stringent requirements of the
   scientific method. Above all, a scientist must have integrity 
   and always seek the truth.

        Despite these safeguards, because scientists are also human 
   beings, on extremely rare occasions, an individual will 
   violate these tenets of truth and honesty. Although rare, such
   occurrences deeply "wounds" and "disturbs" the entire scientific
   community. [See...Langmuir's talk on Pathological Science 
   (December 18, 1953)]
   "The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not
   conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true."

                                      --Albert Einstein

        Thus, the bedrock of science and technology is the 
   measurements performed by a broad array of investigators.  
   Although, often simple in hindsight, much of our basic 
   understanding have resulted from the elegant and insightful 
   simplicity of ingenious experiments.  The ability to make 
   accurate measurements of fundamental quantities such as mass,
   temperature, pressure, volume, and time enables the compilation
   of reliable scientific data.  In fact, the refrain, "if it 
   disagrees with experiment it is wrong", is too factual to ever 
   be minimized.  It may simply mean that you didn't do the correct
   experiment or your theory is flawed! 
        The analysis of the resultant experimental data is often 
   accomplished with the use of statistical data analysis.  That is
   the search for patterns or regularities.  One must keep in mind
   that sometimes, the lack of patterns or regularities maybe the
   the correct result.  Hence, one must repeat their measurements
   enough times to ensure both accuracy and precision and properly 
   evaluate the variances in the data.  This is the rigor required
   by the Scientific Method.

        This experiment/exercise will familiarize the student with
   basic statistics, mistakes, errors, accuracy, and precision.
   The student will understand:


               •Systematic error

               •Random error

               •Precision and standard deviation

               •Significant figures

                 •Significant figures-Quiz#1
                 •Significant figures-Quiz#2

             •Various calculator/computer programming and
                      plotting techniques

   The student will need a calculator for these activities. An 
   online calculator is available for some limited applications 
   condeptual appreciation of the Uncertainty Principle and 
   Quantum Field Theory.


   1.  Obtain a copy of the comics from your local Sunday newspaper. 
       Turn to the section which contains the optical illusion insert
       (different localities has different names for this section of the
       comics).  If such a section is not available in your local paper,
       or, if you prefer, you can find excellent images here.  
   2.  Place your selected image(s) before your eyes and let your eyes
       adjust so that you can see the "hidden" image(s), etc.

   3.  Use a ruler to measure the distance from the paper to your eyes. 
       Completely reset your visual senses (by doing something else for
       awhile!) then repeat step 2 and this step a minimum of 
       five(5) times with five different images within an eight 
       hour period.

   4.  Compile your data into well organized table(s) and perform a 
       complete statistical anaysis.

   5.  Make the appropriate graphs and figures to highlight your
       results, discussion, and conclusions in your •laboratoryreport 

   6.  .... [**..additional writing guidelines]


   In the evaluation of your results, consider whether or not an 
   overall learning curve was in effect as opposed to a separate
   learning curve for each activity.  This should be reflected
   in your your data and the statistical variances found in your

   1.  Initially, did you see what you wanted to see or what was
       actually there?

   2.  Was it easier to see the intended image(s) after your 
       were informed of what was to be found?

   3.  Why do some individuals see the intended image(s) more 
       readily than others?

   4.  Are these differences in perception significantly
       influenced by one's culture and experiences?

   5.  Explain why the scientific method is absolutely 
       indispensible and vital to science and the progress of