Silly physics...

James Cozine jmcozine at
Wed Feb 12 15:00:12 PST 2003

rbpark-NOSPAM at (Rob Park) writes:

> Alas! James Cozine spake thus:
>> I did a lab in high school where one determines the acceleration due
>> to gravity by swinging a pendulum.  The result should have been 9.8
>> m/s^2, but we got 8.8 m/s^2.  I still don't know what we did wrong.
> Well, sources of error could be almost anything. Since this was a
> highschool experiment, I'd bet a lot of money that your largest source
> of error was "crappy, unreliable measuring equipment" ;)

Ya, that photo-gate was kinda iffy...  It wasn't as bad as the force
experiments involving a battery (under)powered bulldozer ;)

> Speaking of weird errors, though, I remember one chemistry lab from
> highschool...

That's what I assumed the thread to be about: When Physics Goes

> We were titrating some substance into some acid to try and determine the
> acidity. But wait, it gets better: we forgot to write down one of our
> measurements. We ended up just guessing the value, and when we got to
> the end of the experiment, our results were something like 0.1% off of
> the expected theoretical value. 

I don't remember much from chemistry... except when the teacher
swished some ethyl alcohol around in a water jug, emptied it out,
and lit the fumes.  The plastic caught on fire! ;)  And there's
always the potassium+water trick...

> Our teacher was quite impressed, when she informed us that there was a
> 3% error built into the equipment we were using... ;)


Just give Alice some pencils and she will stay busy for hours.
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