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Calculating the mean, when total is zero!

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

  1. jg7ame

    jg7ame New commenter


    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!

    Thanks in advance

  2. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter


    The average temperature is zero. What's wrong with that?
    bombaysapphire likes this.
  3. maths126

    maths126 New commenter

    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. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    Or convert them to Kelvin (or Fahrenheit!), take the mean and see if you feel any more comfortable with that. ;)
  5. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    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. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    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. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

  8. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

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

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