History of Error Bars in Physics

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I was reading an 1803 paper by Thomas Young (of double slit fame), "Experiments and Calculations relative to physical Optics". In it, he lists various dimensions of fringes of light and things.

All without any error bars.

It got me thinking, what's the history of error bars in scientific work? I mean nowadays, no one would submit a paper without any error bars. How did this become the standard?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
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That page is more a brief description of what an error bar is. I'm looking more for the history of its development. When did it become common to put error bars around things? Did a bunch of scientists come to some conference one day and discuss how they needed to describe the uncertainties in their measurements? Or did one guy start doing it, and others thought that was a great idea and followed suit? That sort of thing...

Actually, I found another thread that I missed before, talking about something similar:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/history-of-error-analysis.791647/
[PLAIN]https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/history-of-error-analysis.791647/[/PLAIN] [Broken]
 
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