Uncertainties

Dr Dave Farmer joins us to talk about uncertainties.

The tweet that started it all

Friend of the podcast Dave Farmer returns to talk about a subject to strike fear into any physics teacher’s heart: uncertainty! We peel away some layers of complexity to reveal… more layers of complexity! Having worked with a lot of exam boards’ A-level specs over the last few years, Dave recommends reading the mark schemes and looking for examples of what your particular exam board recommends. Whether we are talking scale resolution, combining uncertainties or ascertaining the gradient of a graph with error bars, we couldn’t agree on any of them. But don’t despair, there’s a lot of uncertainty about uncertainty, so just work out what your exam board require and after that, let your students develop their ideas.

We also emphasise that all of these methods are estimations and approximations: rigorous statistical consideration of uncertainty is a scientific career in itself, so inevitably A-level is just going to scratch the surface.

Finally we celebrate a physics teaching hero: take a bow Dr Peter Edmunds the Science Doctor who has shared an immense catalogue of resource for physics at all stages. Stuck for some resources? You’ll find something on Peter’s excellent site – link below. Why not fill your boots and then buy Pete a coffee?

Links

Join in!

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The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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