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Thursday, March 21

Evaluating Systematic Uncertainties in Physics Measurements

Francis G. Perey, ORNL, Retiree, Oak Ridge, TN
Physics Division Seminar
3:00 PM — 4:00 PM, Building 6008, Large Conference Room
Contact: Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri (, 865.574.6124


It is now recommended that the systematic and statistical uncertainties in physics measurements be combined into a single estimated standard deviation. There is today no generally accepted non-statistical theory of probability for classical physics. Many of the systematic uncertainties in measurements are the result of the fact that the value of an observable is only determined to lie within some limits. The use of the Principle of Indifference appears to be recommended by the BIPM, even though for more than a century it has been known to lead to paradoxes in some of these instances. We propose possibilities-generating transformation groups that resolve these paradoxes and allow us to assign unique non-statistical probability density functions for these systematic uncertainties in physics measurements.