# Calculating the mean, when total is zero!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by jg7ame, Feb 26, 2020.

1. Hi

How is the mean calculated from the following set of temperatures recorded in a study :

3, -4, 2, 2, 1, - 2, 1, -3

Added together the total is zero!

So....what's the mean?

Over to you!

John

2. Zero!

The average temperature is zero. What's wrong with that?

bombaysapphire likes this.
3. By definition, the mean IS zero.
To see why, try plotting these temperatures on a line graph.

A related question is to ask for the mean distance away from zero, in which case you would use the absolute value (i.e. ignoring negative signs).

Alternatively you could find the RMS (Root Mean Square)...

4. Or convert them to Kelvin (or Fahrenheit!), take the mean and see if you feel any more comfortable with that. 5. The mean is zero. Finding the RMS would make no sense as it would suggest the mean is greater than zero, which it isn't.

6. Same as any other mean calculation... Total divided by number of numbers...0 divided by 8 = 0

Now, if you could add up zero number of numbers so that you had to divide by zero that might be a problem...

7. Bless.

8. Are you a teacher? This is not a forum to get your homework done.