Measurement and Its Pitfalls

  • Martin Goldstein
  • Inge Goldstein


By now we have given enough examples of measurements of quantities—such as numbers of cholera cases per 10,000 houses, temperatures, weights of hot and cold bodies, rates of mental disorders, and cancer in different places—to make it apparent that measurement plays a central role in science. While not every scientific fact is a numerical one, nor every scientific theory a predictor of numerical magnitudes, so many are that we cannot conceive of modern science without the process of measurement.


Crime Statistic Matical Curve Decimal Point Numerical Magnitude Wooden Stick 
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Reference Notes

  1. 1.
    Joseph F. Mulligan, “Some Recent Determinations of the Velocity of Light,” American Journal of Physics 20 (1952): 165; “Some Recent Determinations of the Velocity of Light, II,” American Journal of Physics 25 (1957):180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Joseph F. Mulligan, “Some Recent Determinations of the Velocity of Light, III,” American Journal of Physics 44 (1976): 960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. H. Sanders, The Velocity of Light (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1965).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: Crime and Its Impact—An Assessment (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. J. Coale and F. F. Stephan, “The Case of the Indians and the Teen-age Widows,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 57 (1962):338.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Oscar Morgenstern, On the Accuracy of Economic Observations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968). Reprinted by permission of Princeton University and Professor Morgenstern. Copyright 1968 by Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Suggested Reading

  1. Errors of measurement are discussed in more detail in Chapter 6 of Freedman, David, Robert Pisani, and Roger Purves, Statistics. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Goldstein
    • 1
  • Inge Goldstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Yeshiva UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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