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Scientists Calculate Most Precise Measurement of Electron's Mass 59

sciencehabit writes "A team of physicists has produced the most precise electron mass measurement ever made. Instead of trying to measure the mass directly, the researchers bound a single electron to a bare carbon nucleus and placed the resulting atom in a uniform electromagnetic field called a Penning trap. The team's new measurement is 13 times more precise than previous efforts, with an uncertainty of just 0.03 parts per billion. The group's precise result will help physicists more accurately calculate the fine-structure constant, an important value in tests of the standard model of particle physics, which shapes our understanding of the basic building blocks of the universe."
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Scientists Calculate Most Precise Measurement of Electron's Mass

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  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @10:46PM (#46292229)

    I'm puzzled where you're seeing the confusion. TFA uses the term "precise" precisely (heh) as it is meant to be used: it tells you the uncertainty (known uncertainty, obviously, though you can throw in a "fudge factor" to account for unknown factors) in the measurement. It's not really possible to tell if the measurement is *accurate* except by comparing it to other measurements made by other teams, but given the higher level of precision in this experiment, that comparison is mostly useless (I'm assuming their data with error lies within the data with error of other measurements. If it didn't, that might end being much bigger news).

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban