Scientific method, statistical method and the speed of light. (English) Zbl 1059.62507

Summary: What is ”statistical method”? Is it the same as ”scientific method”? This paper answers the first question by specifying the elements and procedures common to all statistical investigations and organizing these into a single structure. This structure is illustrated by careful examination of the first scientific study on the speed of light carried out by A. A. Michelson in 1879. Our answer to the second question is negative. To understand this a history on the speed of light up to the time of Michelson’s study is presented. The larger history and the details of a single study allow us to place the method of statistics within the larger context of science.


62A01 Foundations and philosophical topics in statistics
62P35 Applications of statistics to physics
Full Text: DOI


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