B. J. Taylor


stars, abundances, individual, µ Leo


For the often-studied "SMR" giant µ Leo, Smith & Ruck (2000) have recently found that [Fe/H] approximately + 0.3 dex. Their conclusion is tested here in a "statistical" paradigm, in which statistical principles are used to select published high-dispersion µ Leo data and assign error bars to them. When data from Smith & Ruck and from Takeda et al. (1998) are added to a data base compiled in 1999, it is found that conclusions from an earlier analysis (Taylor 1999c) are essentially unchanged: the mean value of [Fe/H] approximately + 0.23 ± 0.025 dex, and values ≤ + 0.2 dex are not clearly ruled out at 95% confidence. In addition, the hypothesis that [Fe/H] ≥ 0.3 dex which emerges from the Smith-Ruck analysis is formally rejected at 98% confidence. The "default paradigm" which is commonly used to assess µ Leo data is also considered. The basic characteristics of that paradigm continue to be a) unexplained exclusion of statistical analysis, b) inadequately explained deletions from an [Fe/H] data base containing accordant data, and c) an undefended convention that µ Leo is to have a metallicity of about + 0.3 dex or higher. As a result, it seems fair to describe the Smith-Ruck application and other applications of the default paradigm as invalid methods of inference from the data.

Original Publication Citation

B. J. Taylor. "Statistics and supermetallicity: The metallicity of Mu Leonis," Astronomy & Astrophysics, 379(3), December 2001. 917-923. DOI:

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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EDP Sciences




Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Physics and Astronomy