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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.

Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Curriculum Topic Benchmarks: M6.3.1, M6.4.7, M9.3.1, M9.4.4
Subject Keywords: Logarithms, Mean Value, Statistics, Non-linear

Author(s): Lin Chambers
PUMAS ID: 12_30_02_1
Date Received: 2002-12-30
Date Revised: 2003-01-16
Date Accepted: 2003-01-21

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Comments

Comment by Laura Randall on April 11, 2004
"Enjoyed the activity, BUT it is currently shown in the K-2 section of Puma. Definitely should be in High School section."

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