Imagine that you are doing a physics lab to measure the velocity of a small projectile. After making a bunch of measurements to four significant figures, and doing a bunch of arithmetic, you get a value of 4.371928645 m/s. After yet more gruelling math, you find the uncertainty associated with this number to be 0.0316479825 m/s.
How do you report your answer in a lab report?
(There was talk a while back about getting ScienceBlogs some fancy poll software that would allow me to do this with radio buttons and automatic counting, but I don’t know how to do that yet, and I’m curious about the answer now, so we’ll do this old-school. Choose from the list of answers provided below the fold, and post a comment giving your answer.)
(Please note that you don’t need to be a scientist, or have taken a physics class in order to answer this. In fact, the less physics background you have, the better– I’m genuinely curious about what the average person thinks the right answer should be. The correct answer, and the reason for the question, will be posted here tomorrow.)
- A) 4.371928645 +/- 0.0316479825 m/s
- B) 4.372 +/- 0.03165 m/s
- C) 4.372 +/- 0.032 m/s
- D) 4.37 +/- 0.03 m/s
- E) Some other answer that I will explain in comments.