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IB Physics

Current, editable version of this book is available in Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks at URL:

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Measurements and Uncertainties

In taking IB Physics, you have made a two-year commitment to understand the fundamental rules of our universe, and, more importantly, understand the ways in which we investigate and refine our knowledge of them.

It must not be forgotten that Physics is an experimental science; it only moves forward through the infinite cycle of thinking that we, as humanity, know something, disproving it with experiments, creating a new theory to account for the inconsistency we see and establishing limitations on the old theory, and trying again.

Understanding perfectly the unique mathematical framework that is used to describe quantities that we can measure from real life, and uncertainty that arises from testing ideas against real life, is of critical importance to understanding the rest of the physics ideas we will encounter in the syllabus.

So begins the first topic in the IB Physics Course. It is broken into three sub-topics, regarding measurements in physics, uncertainties in physics, and the differences between and applications of vector and scalar quantities. 5 hours of teaching and learning time is recommended.

Measurements in Physics

Physics is the study of real, physical phenomena. Anything that exists or can be directly or indirectly measured, with any measuring instrument or thought experiment, can be thought of as a quantity. This idea of the world being described by however so many different quantities, which, in IB physics, you will learn about them, as well as how to measure, manipulate and utilise the relationships we've found between them, is the basis of physics as an experimental science. Quantities are made up of two components - a number and a unit. These ideas are explained below.

Units 100% developed  as of 28 October 2020

Think back to your early childhood. What were numbers to you? They probably represented some quantity of a real thing - 2 apples, 3 cookies, and so on. "2 apples" is a very real thing, but "2" is merely an abstract idea that happens to describe how numerous those apples are.

Likewise, "5 metres" is a real thing, that can be drawn out, pointed to, and visualised in reality; on the other hand, "5" is just another abstract concept that may describe some real things when used in a certain way.

The key difference between those two terms in quotes is the fact that the first term is the physical, real concept of a metre multiplied by 5, whereas "5" is still just a number. These physical, real concepts which are multiplied by numbers in order to represent things in the real world are called units.

Fundamentally speaking, the idea of a physical unit is what allows us to express very real things through the powerful abstract system of mathematics. That's why you should never omit the unit, if present, when finding a quantity in physics - the number by itself is meaningless - it is merely the act of multiplying it by some physical or abstract concept that gives it meaning.

Fundamental SI Units

There are seven basic units - seven basic physical things or phenomena - that can be combined through multiplication and division to describe every single quantity that is measured in the course of doing physics experiments and solving physics problems.

These are the metre (distance), kilogram (mass), second (time), ampere (flow of charge carriers / electric current), kelvin (absolute temperature, starting at 0), mole (unit of amount, a number, that allows conversion between subatomic particle masses and grams), and candela (light intensity; not touched in IB physics).

These units are defined and regulated by the BIPM; the acronym is French for the organisation's name, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. The base SI units are called "SI", another French acronym meaning International System, to indicate how they are in practically universal international use in physics (except, sometimes, in the United States).

These seven units propagate through the various physics equations we have discovered that accurately describe reality to combine into new units. They can be divided by one another - for instance, the metre, , can be divided by the second, , to get the unit of velocity - the "metre per second", or - a compound unit for speed or velocity.

Derived SI Units

While it is possible to show the nature of any physical quantity you might want to just in terms of the above 7 basic SI units, this can often become cumbersome when units get more complex. For instance, consider the formula for kinetic energy below.

The units of energy are thus the units of mass, multiplied by the units of velocity squared - or, . Writing this out every time you want to describe some amount of energy would just be tedious. As such, some combinations of the basic SI units have their own names and symbols - in this case, one is called a joule, with the symbol .

These derived units are in practically universal use in physics. Throughout the course, you will learn of more derived units and what they represent. All derived SI units can still be expressed in basic SI units, as the equation used to find the quantity with a particular derived unit will describe - however, the derived SI unit and its symbol is used for simplicity.

Numbers 0% developed  as of 28 October 2020

Numbers are the other part of a quantity, in addition to units - the multiplier - which describe the magnitude of the physical quantity by scaling the unit up or down. The idea of a number is not as hard to comprehend as the idea of a unit; however, scientists have a wide diversity of conventions, or established practices, that they use in order to make their usage of numbers quick and precise.

Orders of Magnitude

One thing that you ought to know is the idea of orders of magnitude. They are not a natural concept, but a human-created one - essentially, an extra power of 10 is an additional order of magnitude, and taking away a power of 10 is one fewer order of magnitude. Although one might discuss orders of magnitude formally in the sense that is on the second order of magnitude (like other numbers around ), this is never really done in practice.

Instead, the key uses of orders of magnitude in physics are in communication - for instance, of the fact that two quantities are of the same order of magnitude, or that a quantity is several, or a particular number of, orders of magnitude greater or smaller than another.

As an example, I might say that "the gas constant, , is on the same order of magnitude as the number of fingers I have on my hands". I might say that "the mass of the earth is many orders of magnitude greater than the mass of my apartment building". I might also say, more relevantly to physics, for instance, that "electric fields are many orders of magnitude stronger than gravitational fields".

Orders of magnitude are a qualitative measurement that are really just used in conversation or informal writing between physicists. Exam questions on this topic may be phrased awkwardly because of this informal use, but will be easy.

Scientific Notation

Scientific notation, overall, is a standard way to write down numbers such that the below objectives in communication are achieved.

  1. The number of significant figures to which a quantity is precise is clearly indicated.
  2. The order of magnitude is clearly indicated.
  3. The number will never have an incredible amount of zeroes, nor will it have any more detail than is needed to convey all of the information about the number that we know.

All numbers written in scientific notation are done so in the form . Here, is any integer, including 0. It is used to define the order of magnitude of the number - essentially, the place value where the number begins - a number in the thousands, hundreds of thousands, trillions, and so on can all be described as such by that power of 10, . Given this, all the numbers which have a place value beginning at a certain power of 10, and a certain number of significant figures' precision, can be described by the decimal term multiplied by that power of 10 - . The number must be greater than or equal to 1 (or else a lower order of magnitude would be appropriate), and must be less than 10 (or else a higher order of magnitude would be appropriate). It is usually a decimal, but not always - and it is written to exactly the number of significant figures that the writer can be sure of.

For instance, if I have measured the height of a skyscraper to be , but only to a precision of around , or two significant figures, then I would write this height as .

Metric Multipliers

Another tool that scientists use to show the order of magnitude of a quantity, which goes hand in hand with scientific notation, is metric multipliers. These are like little, pre-packaged powers of 10 that can be multiplied onto a particular unit to make it easier to read, pronounce, and talk about quantities. The common examples of these, that you might be expected to know, are in the table below.

Metric Multipliers
Multiplier Value Symbol Pronunciation
"giga" (GIG-GAH)
"mega" (MEG-GAH)
"kilo" (KEE-LOW)
"milli" (MILL-LEE)
"micro" (MIKE-ROW)
"nano" (NAN-KNOW)
"pico" (PEE-CO)

Although these are technically numbers, they are shunted right next to the units to multiply them, essentially creating a new unit that is a few orders of magnitude away from the original. That's what's unique about them - even though they are technically a number, they make up a part of the unit. In IB physics, you will be expected to have a solid command of these metric multipliers,

It must be noted that while the is technically a modified unit because it has the "kilo" metric multiplier (i.e., a kilogram is a unit of mass equivalent to grams), it is still a base SI unit. Generally, through, people will speak of "milligrams" and "nanograms" rather than "micro-kilograms" and "pico-kilograms". In practice, metric multipliers are mainly used for derived units, in addition to the metre, ampere and second, and are more often used to make units smaller rather than to make them larger.


The idea of estimation is not something that can be easily taught in a textbook. In a few words, it is "calculating but not really", or making "an educated guess".

One form of estimation centers around the idea of doing calculations only with order-of-magnitude figures in one's head, such that an estimate for the order of magnitude of the answer might be figured out. It's a quick way to check that a calculation seems valid. Did you find that a snail might move at 94% of the speed of light? You've probably done something wrong. That's where this form of estimation comes in most often.

Formatting and Pronouncing your Quantities 0% developed  as of 28 October 2020

Uncertainties and Errors

Errors 100% developed  as of 16 June 2020

Physics is an experimental science, and not all measurements are made in an infinitely precise way. As such, physicists have developed mathematical methods to deal with the errors that crop up from doing experiments in the real world - a field of study called Error Analysis. In IB Physics, this is lightly tested but critical for your IA, where you do an experiment. In the most formal sense, think of an error as a deviation, or difference, of a measured value from an accepted (or real) value.

Random Errors

A random error is an error affecting a measured value that an experimenter has found which is unknown and unpredictable. It is usually caused by:

  1. Variations in the experimental situation, like random fluctuations in temperature. In these cases, the maximum random error, (or uncertainty), is of unpredictable and usually unknown size.
  2. Estimating when reading a measured value off of a measuring instrument, like taking the mass of a body from a digital scale. In these cases, you can usually know the size of the maximum random error, (or uncertainty), from the precision of the measuring instrument.

In doing practical experiments in Physics, it is important to reduce the random error of your measurements in order to get the most accurate possible result.

The easiest way to reduce random error in experiment is using equipment that is more precise. (Precision here refers to how closely measured values agree with each other. A measurement being precise might not imply it's close to the true value- just that it's very reliably consistent.) For instance, one could use an electronic balance that is precise to 0.01 g over a kitchen balance that is precise to 1 g.

Systematic Errors

Systematic errors are errors that cause the measured value of a quantity to be different from the real value by a reasonably consistent amount. They are usually associated with a particular measuring instrument or experimental technique.

For example, a 30 cm plastic ruler with margins of 0.3 cm on either side of the 0 cm and 30 cm markings would have a systematic error if you used it incorrectly, by assuming the end of the ruler was the real 0 marking, and lining that up against, say, the height of a block to measure it. This kind of systematic error is called a zero error, so named because measuring a 0 cm actual value would leave you with a systematic error of 0.3 cm.

You can reduce systematic errors in an experiment by identifying them from your equipment and method, followed by accounting for them in your calculations, usually by subtraction. You can also reduce systematic errors by using equipment that has been tuned to have none, and by using existing equipment in a way that will not lead to the creation of systematic errors, like measuring from the actual 0 cm mark of a ruler.

Uncertainties 100% developed  as of 18 June 2020

Uncertainties are extra information added to the accepted value of a quantity that signify how precise our knowledge of a quantity is.

For example, one might measure a length of a copper cable as , with a yardstick accurate to the nearest . Measuring a length on an analogue ruler is taken to be the act of finding where two points are on the ruler, and finding the difference. Each point on the ruler is a millimetre apart, so the real start and end of the wire can be recorded by a point on the ruler that is at most half a millimetre away. Subtracting these two points creates a total uncertainty of two half-millimetres, or one millimetre.

We would therefore write the quantity signifying our knowledge of the length of copper wire as . The symbol in the centre is pronounced "plus or minus", and it shows that the value could be up to , or as low as . That is, from the accepted value minus the uncertainty up to the accepted value plus the uncertainty.

Note: this use of the plus-or-minus symbol means that uncertainties are always positive numbers and should be treated as such. This is why there are on all of the formulas about uncertainties. These signs mean that you must change whatever is within them, positive or negative, into a positive number of equal magnitude. The signs have other meanings in maths, but this is beyond the scope of this Wikibook.

Absolute Uncertainties

An absolute uncertainty is an uncertainty attached to a quantity, which is of a certain known value. It answers the question - how wrong exactly are we? It is not a proportion of the accepted value. The absolute uncertainty of a given quantity is written as . For instance, if we knew that , we could say that .

You should write them to a maximum of 1 or 2 (based on your judgement) significant figures. The reasoning behind this is that the extra significant figures add no real meaning to our understanding of the main value.

Fractional Uncertainties

A fractional uncertainty is an uncertainty attached to a quantity which represents the magnitude of the absolute uncertainty involved, as a proportion of the accepted value for the quantity. Basically speaking, it answers the question - how much does our wrongness matter? For instance, in our example of the wire, we could calculate the uncertainty like this:

There is usually no need to round a fractional uncertainty because, very often, it is an intermediate step in calculating something more complex. The symbol represents a fractional uncertainty.

Percentage Uncertainties

Percentage Uncertainties of quantities are much like fractional uncertainties, except for the fact that they are expressed as a percentage rather than a fraction or decimal. The mathematical skill of converting a fraction or decimal into a percentage is below the scope of the IB Physics Syllabus, and so will not be detailed here.

For our example of the yardstick, the percentage uncertainty is easily found by converting the fractional uncertainty to a percentage. The symbol which represents a percentage uncertainty, , is the same. See here:

Percentage Uncertainties are the usual way to express uncertainties by the proportion of a value. Exactly the same as absolute uncertainties, you should write them to a maximum of 1 or 2 (based on your judgement) significant figures.

Uncertainties from Averages

When you have taken multiple readings of a value to find an average and increase your accuracy, there are two ways to determine the uncertainty of your final average value.

  1. If the range of the data is more than the range of possible values of the mean when the same absolute uncertainty is kept, then you must account for this in expressing your final value. For instance, if your experimental data for a value are , then you have underestimated the random error, because the ranges of possible values do not overlap on one single value. You need to correct this. The rule of thumb for doing so is for the absolute uncertainty of the mean to be half of the range of the data; the reasoning behind this is to include all of the data points as possible values. In our example, the range of the data is , so we would express our mean as .
  2. If the uncertainty of each value means that the possible range of real values from each reading is smaller than the range of the data, then you simply retain the same absolute uncertainty when expressing the data's mean. For instance, if your data were , then, because every value is within the uncertainty of the mean (), there is no need to increase the uncertainty to account for the spread of the data.

A note on the reasoning behind keeping the same absolute uncertainty for the mean even though taking an average is used to make a measurement more accurate is made a few sections below.

Graphical Analysis 100% developed  as of 16 June 2020

The skills involved with graphing a relationship between two quantities based on experimental data are generally prerequisite to the IB Physics course. However, here's a quick refresher on how you should do your graphs.

  1. Linearise the axes to test for a straight-line graph if necessary for analysis: if , then plot and on the axes rather than leaving the two quantities as they are.
  2. Include a descriptive title on the graph, and turn on all major and minor grid lines.
  3. Label the axes in the format "description symbol /unit"; for instance, a label like "distance " is appropriate.
  4. Ensure that the numbers on the axes are labelled and spaced out in a logical manner - without the unit, as you have already divided the quantity by the unit in your labelling scheme.
  5. Generally, a physicist would analyse an experiment by plotting the thing they are changing (the independent variable) on the horizontal x-axis, and plot the thing they are measuring (the dependent variable) on the vertical y-axis.
  6. Make sure you use "X" markers or "+" markers rather than circular blobs to indicate a plotted point, so that it is visually more precise.

That's pretty much the sum of physics graphing skills that you would be expected to have up to the point of the IB course. For the rest of this section of the article, assume I am talking about Microsoft Excel (2020) (and not Google Sheets - Sheets is incapable of proper error bars and uncertainty analysis).

Error Bars

Error bars are a physicist's most useful visual interpretation of uncertainty. They are extensions of the plotted marker that show how far up, down, left, or right, the real value indicated by the marker could possibly be plotted on the graph; that knowledge is based on the uncertainties of the value you are plotting. Search: "error bars physics" on Google Images for a visual idea of them.

Error bars for an experiment might all be of equal size, or different points may have different uncertainties - in this case, you should record, or generate, a column of uncertainty values (e.g. a column for and alongside the typical columns for and ) for the spreadsheet software to use as values for error bars.

Generally speaking, the error bars up and down in the y-axis and the error bars left and right in the x-axis will be the same size, unless you know for sure that the uncertainty in one direction is far less or far greater than the uncertainty in another direction.

Sometimes, error bars are not appropriate for a graph simply because they are so small. For instance, if you are working in lengths of a couple of metres, but your uncertainties in the length are just a millimetre - that being the precision of the ruler - then your error bars with respect to length are likely to be so small on the plotted graph that they can be ignored.

A useful exercise, after this section, would be to see if you can use drawing and intuition based on error bars to demonstrate the rules for adding uncertain quantities together, multiplying an uncertain quantity by a constant, and, as a challenge, multiplying or dividing two uncertain quantities together.

Uncertainty of Gradient and Intercepts

Finding the uncertainty of a gradient or an intercept in physics is very useful because it allows uncertainty values to be "calculated" for quantities that we are unable to directly measure.

For instance, most experiments involving the acceleration of free-fall, , do not measure it directly - they derive it from another dependent and independent variable, perhaps as the gradient of the graph that links the two variables together. Another example is how experiments determine the value of absolute zero - physicists back in the 19th century absolutely would not have had access to any equipment that might let them bring the temperature of something down even close to absolute zero, and they determined it using the x-intercept of a graph linking two quantities about the behaviour of a gas together.

The technique to use here is called the use of "max-min lines". Essentially, you try to plot a "max line", which is as steep as possible but still passes through all the error bars, and then a "min line", which is as shallow as possible, but, again, passes through all the error bars. The logic behind this is that you are pushing the error bars to their limits, using your knowledge of how the real point may be anywhere inside the rectangle created by the error bars.

After you have created these max-min lines, you can take the steeper gradient to be the maximum possible gradient, and then you can take the shallower gradient to be the minimum possible gradient. As a rule of thumb, you can generally take the arithmetic mean (add then divide by 2) of the two gradients to get your "measured value" of the gradient. Naturally, it then follows that the gap between your measured gradient and each of the maximum and minimum possible gradients is the uncertainty in the gradient.

You can analyse the intercepts of the graph (intercepts with another line, with the axes, etc) with a similar technique. Note the extreme possible values of the intercept, taking them to be the maximum and minimum values as appropriate, and, again, take the arithmetic mean of the values to be your "measured value". The uncertainty in the intercept is calculated from the difference between the measured and the extreme values.

Uncertainties Expressed as Ranges

There are, of course, some exceptions. For instance, you might realise that the difference between a max line and a min line in some pattern that is close to vertical might end up massive - think a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 5,000. Here, taking the arithmetic mean is not appropriate, and so by necessity you would have to express the gradient as a range (i.e. ).

Expressing uncertainties in any form as a range is an easy skill. Although it is not always necessary, it can be helpful. Generally, given an uncertain quantity , knowing that the extremes are such that , for instance, , we would express our knowledge of the quantity with the range statement " is between 294 and 306"; or, simply with the interval/inequality .

Calculation: Propagating Uncertainties 100% developed  as of 16 June 2020

When determining the uncertainty of a value which has been itself calculated from other uncertain values, the following rules apply.

Adding and Subtracting Values

When adding and subtracting values from each other, you will need to add the absolute uncertainties together.

For instance, .

The reasoning behind this is that, when adding two uncertain values, and , the lowest possible value is , and the highest possible value is . The total range of possible values is equal to the sum of the ranges of possible values for the two quantities you added together. In other words,

  • If ,
  • then
  • because .

Multiplying or Dividing an Uncertain Value by an Exact Value

The rules regarding propagating an uncertainty through multiplication and division are perhaps some of the most important.

If you have some uncertain value , then it can take a lowest value of and a highest value of . If you multiply the lowest value and the highest value each by some exact factor , then you'll get a lowest value of and a highest value of .

The main value has been scaled up by a factor of , becoming . At the same time, we can see that the minimum and maximum possible values have scaled up by the same factor - the amount by which they are lower or higher than , that amount being the uncertainty in , has correspondingly been increased by that factor of .

Mathematically speaking, we can write this in a really simple form - . In the IB formula booklet, this isn't actually included - you may have noticed that this is in fact just an application of the rule regarding adding uncertain quantities together.

Dividing a quantity by a constant, which we'll call , can be thought of as multiplying by . So, likewise to the previous paragraph, .

As an example - say you have the uncertain quantity . If you divided this quantity by 4, you'd get ; the absolute uncertainty is divided by 4, and the percentage uncertainty remains the same - a very important fact to bear in mind. If you multiplied this uncertainty by 4, you'd get . Notice that I've kept the second significant figure; that's because rounding it to an absolute uncertainty of 20 would make it significantly more uncertain than it really was (the uncertainty increases in size by a whole 25%! That is a meaningful difference, and so I have concluded with my own judgement that 2 significant figures is appropriate here).

Multiplying or Dividing two Uncertain Values

The rules get a little more complicated when we move into the realm of multiplying and dividing uncertain values by one another. Let's try and find minimum and maximum values when we multiply two uncertain quantities together.

Suppose you have two quantities, and , that multiply to the quantity . Suppose that each of the data are uncertain by an amount and respectively. In other words, .

At a minimum, , taking the smallest values of the initial data possible. At a maximum, .

Try to do this with your own pencil and paper - if you subtract the minimum from the maximum, you find a range of values wide; the uncertainty is . You will also find that the measured value of the quantity is , because that's the centre-point between the minimum and maximum values. Consider that, usually, will be too small to affect the measured value. You can basically cancel it to 0. As such, our final value for is .

Generally, the rule for multiplying two uncertain values is that the percentage uncertainty of the result will be the sum of the percentage uncertainties that you are multiplying together. This is a property that can be seen in the calculation above. If we try to calculate the overall percentage uncertainty in , we get the below.

This explains the rule for multiplying two uncertain quantities together. Now we ought to consider what happens if we divide one uncertain quantity by another. Say we have a quantity . and are both uncertain by an amount and as before.

At a maximum, . At a minimum, . The difference between these two quantities is . As before, is a quantity that would generally be insignificant to the final result, so we cancel it to 0. Keep in mind that the algebra here is quite hard, and I wouldn't expect every reader of this textbook to follow it. The general rule for division is stated later.

We find that, dividing by two, the absolute uncertainty is . You may realise that this absolute uncertainty is the new value multiplied by the sum of the percentage uncertainties - the percentage uncertainty in the new value is the initial percentage uncertainties added up. You may want to come back to this section later and attempt the algebra yourself. Until then, the rule to be remembered is quite simple, below.

To summarise - when multiplying or dividing two uncertain quantities by one another, the percentage uncertainty of the answer can be found by adding up the percentage uncertainties of the two inputs. When :

Raising Uncertain Values to a Power

When raising an uncertain value, which we'll call , to a certain power, which we'll call , the rule is actually quite simple. You take your original percentage uncertainty in and multiply it by the absolute value of the power. This is a pretty much direct logical conclusion that can be drawn from our knowledge of the rules for multiplying and dividing uncertain quantities.

For instance, if we want to calculate the percentage uncertainty in , we just need to note that . If we want to calculate the percentage uncertainty in , we just need to note that . In the first case, we are multiplying four 'es together, and so the percentage uncertainty must be . In the second case, we are dividing an exact quantity by 3 times, and so the percentage uncertainty must be .

This uncertainty principle needs a little more mathematical proving if we are to use it for fractional and decimal powers. However, I'm just going to leave it - the math is beyond the scope of this course. To summarise what is learned in this section:

Special Functions

For IB SL and HL Physics, calculating the uncertainty of a value after it's been passed through a special function, like or , is not necessary. In pursuing analytical work that needs this, the fractional uncertainty of the function's input is taken to be that of its output. For instance, if I am uncertain in a quantity , then I would also say that I am uncertain in or .

This paragraph is only relevant for some very difficult IA topics that may need it. For some functions where a shift in of causes changes of wildly different size to , it is more appropriate to manually calculate the highest and lowest possible values of across the domain of possible real values of the quantity from to , which are often (but not necessarily) equal to and .

Vectors and Scalars

IB Physics/Measurements and Uncertainties (2016)/Vectors and Scalars (2016)


IB Physics/Mechanics (2016)

Thermal Physics

IB Physics/Thermal Physics (2016)


IB Physics/Waves (2016)

Electricity and Magnetism

IB Physics/Electricity and Magnetism (2016)

Circular Motion and Gravitation

IB Physics/Circular Motion and Gravitation (2016)

Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics

IB Physics/Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics (2016)

Energy Production

IB Physics/Energy Production (2016)

Wave Phenomena

IB Physics/Wave Phenomena (2016)


IB Physics/Fields (2016)

Electromagnetic Induction

IB Physics/Electromagnetic Induction (2016)

Quantum and Nuclear Physics

IB Physics/Quantum and Nuclear Physics (2016)


IB Physics/Relativity (2016)

Engineering Physics

IB Physics/Engineering Physics (2016)


IB Physics/Imaging (2016)


IB Physics/Astrophysics (2016)

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The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title Page" means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work's title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.

The "publisher" means any person or entity that distributes copies of the Document to the public.

A section "Entitled XYZ" means a named subunit of the Document whose title either is precisely XYZ or contains XYZ in parentheses following text that translates XYZ in another language. (Here XYZ stands for a specific section name mentioned below, such as "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", "Endorsements", or "History".) To "Preserve the Title" of such a section when you modify the Document means that it remains a section "Entitled XYZ" according to this definition.

The Document may include Warranty Disclaimers next to the notice which states that this License applies to the Document. These Warranty Disclaimers are considered to be included by reference in this License, but only as regards disclaiming warranties: any other implication that these Warranty Disclaimers may have is void and has no effect on the meaning of this License.


You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.

You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may publicly display copies.


If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers) of the Document, numbering more than 100, and the Document's license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition. Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.

If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.

If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a computer-network location from which the general network-using public has access to download using public-standard network protocols a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material. If you use the latter option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public.

It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.


You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

  1. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
  2. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement.
  3. State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the Modified Version, as the publisher.
  4. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.
  5. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.
  6. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
  7. Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Document's license notice.
  8. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
  9. Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
  10. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the "History" section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.
  11. For any section Entitled "Acknowledgements" or "Dedications", Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.
  12. Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.
  13. Delete any section Entitled "Endorsements". Such a section may not be included in the Modified version.
  14. Do not retitle any existing section to be Entitled "Endorsements" or to conflict in title with any Invariant Section.
  15. Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers.

If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version's license notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.

You may add a section Entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various parties—for example, statements of peer review or that the text has been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a standard.

You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Document already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.

The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.


You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice, and that you preserve all their Warranty Disclaimers.

The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled "History" in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections Entitled "Acknowledgements", and any sections Entitled "Dedications". You must delete all sections Entitled "Endorsements".


You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.


A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.


Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.


You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, receipt of a copy of some or all of the same material does not give you any rights to use it.


The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/.

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of this License can be used, that proxy's public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Document.


"Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site" (or "MMC Site") means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.

"CC-BY-SA" means the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license published by Creative Commons Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation with a principal place of business in San Francisco, California, as well as future copyleft versions of that license published by that same organization.

"Incorporate" means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or in part, as part of another Document.

An MMC is "eligible for relicensing" if it is licensed under this License, and if all works that were first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.

The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

How to use this License for your documents

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the "with...Texts." line with this:

with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with the
Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST.

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.