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The Physics of Noise

Edoardo Milotti


For a physicist noise is not just about sounds. It refers to any random physical process that blurs measurements and, in so doing, stands in the way of scientific knowledge. This short book deals with the most common types of noise, their properties and some of their unexpected virtues. The text assumes that the reader knows the basics of probability theory and explains the most useful mathematical concepts related to noise. Finally, it aims at making this subject more widely known and stimulating interest in its study in young physicists.

About Editors

Edoardo Milotti is a professor of physics at the University of Trieste, Italy. After working mostly in experimental particle physics, he has authored papers on noise processes in physics, and on the physics of cancer. His research interests concern the analysis of experimental data and the modeling of complex phenomena. He has published more than 200 scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and he lives in Trieste, Italy, with his wife Alessandra.

Table of Contents


1 Cosmic noise

1.1 Radio waves from the sky

1.2 The noise of the cosmos

2 What is noise?

2.1 Deterministic and random signals

2.2 Statistical properties of noise

2.3 A broad classication of common types of noise

2.4 A few comments on the physicist's noise and the mathematician's noise

3 Mathematical models of noise

3.1 Fourier transforms

3.1.1 Integral representation of the Dirac's delta function

3.2 Energy carried by a signal

3.3 The power spectrum

3.4 The autocorrelation function and the Wiener-Kintchine theorem

3.5 The power spectrum of noise processes

3.5.1 The power spectrum of a point process

3.5.2 White noise

3.6 Brownian motion

3.6.1 Langevin's equation

3.6.2 Frequency-domain analysis of the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process

3.7 Thermal noise

3.8 Shot noise

3.9 1=f noise

3.10 The pitfalls of power spectra

4 The science of Johnson noise

4.1 The Boltzmann constant

4.1.1 Noise thermometry

4.2 Noise temperature of a radio telescope

5 Final remarks

6 Further reading



Paperback ISBN: 9780750330244

Ebook ISBN: 9781643277677

DOI: 10.1088/2053-2571/ab3c46

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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