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Logarithms: Taking the Curve Out

Logarithms are very handy when dealing with numbers at lots of different scales (see related PUMAS example: Just What is a Logarithm, Anyway?). But they also have another useful feature: they help us average measurements of physical phenomena that have nonlinear behavior. A common example in my field of study relates cloud "albedo" to cloud optical depth (Fig. 1); but similar examples may be found when examining many natural phenomena.

Lin Chambers
Date Accepted: 2003-01-21 Grade Group: High School (9-12) Benchmarks: M6.3.1 M6.4.7 M9.3.1 M9.4.4 Keywords: logarithms mean value non-linear statistics Microsoft Word: 12_30_02_1.docx PDF Document: 12_30_02_1.pdf