P h y s i c s b y S a n j a y P a n d e y ( K a n p u r ) E m a i l : s p p h y s i c s w o r l d @ g m a i l . c o m M o . + 9 1 9 4 5 3 7 6 3 0 5 8 , + 9 1 7 2 7 5 1 9 4 0 5 1
A measurement should always be regarded as an estimate. The precision of the ﬁnal result of anexperiment cannot be better than the precision of the measurements made during the experiment, so theaim of the experimenter should be to make the estimates as good as possible.There are many factors which contribute to the accuracy of a measurement. Perhaps the most obviousof these is the level of attention paid by the person making the measurements: a careless experimentergets bad results! However, if the experiment is well designed, one careless measurement will usually beobvious and can therefore be ignored in the ﬁnal analysis. In the following discussion of errors and levelof precision we assume that the experiment is being performed by a careful person who is making thebest use of the apparatus available.
1.1 Systematic Errors
If a voltmeter is not connected to anything else it should, of course, read zero. If it does not, the "zeroerror" is said to be a systematic error: all the readings of this meter are too high or too low. The same3