Calibration, the use of a surrogate signal to standardize an instrument, is an important strategy for the establishment of the validity of an experimental result. In this paper, I present several examples, typical of physics experiments, that illustrate the adequacy of the surrogate. In addition, I discuss several episodes in which the question of calibration is both difficult to answer and of paramount importance. These episodes include early attempts to detect gravity waves, the question of the existence of a 17–keV neutrino, and the question of the existence of a Fifth Force in gravity. I argue that in these more complex cases, the adequacy of calibration, in an extended sense, was both considered and established.
This content is only available as a PDF.
©1997 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.