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fundamentals [2012/06/11 11:26]
ethanminot
fundamentals [2014/05/20 11:13] (current)
ethanminot
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     * add corrections and comments to wiki recipes as you learn more     * add corrections and comments to wiki recipes as you learn more
  
 +====== Navigating uncertainty when constructing experiments ======
 +
 +It is exciting to build devices that no one has built before. Or make new scientific instruments,​ or develop new processes. But sometimes the temptation leads to unnecessary frustration. Perhaps a tried and true method would suffice? Trade offs between risks and benefits will always be tricky.
 +
 +To make a logical/​realistic decision about the best path forward, consider this rule of thumb: ​
 +  *If I am following a recipe that has been tested by N people, the probability of failure on the first attempt is ~ 0.5^(N+1). ​
 +
 +Example 1: You are pouring a concrete slab. The recipe on the bag of concrete has been tested by hundreds of thousands of people. The probability of failure is basically zero.
 +
 +Example 2: You read a paper explaining how to grow high density aligned CNTs. The recipe hasn't been tested by any other groups. The probability of failure on the first attempt is ~ 0.5.
  
 ===== Lab notebooks ===== ===== Lab notebooks =====

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