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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 4 (2005) pp 295-297

Hypothesis Testing Inclusion in the Atomic Emission Spectrum of Hydrogen Experiment

Frazier Nyasulu,* James A. van Zee, William Cusworth III, and John Macklin

Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Box 351700, Seattle, WA 98195,
Received March 9, 2005. April 27, 2005.

Published online: 23 June 2005

Abstract. The measurement of the visible emission spectrum of hydrogen, a common general chemistry laboratory experiment, can be presented in a manner that incorporates hypothesis testing. In the Rydberg equation (1/l = R(1/nf2 1/ni2), the hypotheses tested are nf = 1, 2, 3, . Hypothesis testing involves calculating an nf value from the emission wavelength data. The hypothesis that fits is one in which nf (hypothesis) = nf (calculated). From a linear regression of 1/l versus 1/ni2, nf (calculated) = (m/b) where m is the slope and b is the y intercept. For the visible region emission data, nf (calculated) values are 1.30, 2.00, and 2.72 for nf (hypothesis) values of 1, 2, and 3, respectively, indicating that nf = 2.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; quantum mechanics; hypothesis testing

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9/26/2005 Revision posted. Correction to Table 1

Issue date: August 1, 2005

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