# Logarithmic scale

**Logarithmic**scales give the logarithm of a quantity instead of the quantity itself. This is often done if the underlying quantity can take on a huge range of values; the logarithm reduces this to a more manageable range. Some of our senses operate in a logarithmic fashion (doubling the input strength adds a constant to the subjective signal strength), which makes logarithmic scales for these input quantities especially appropriate. In particular our sense of "audition", i.e., hearing, is naturally designed to perceive equal ratios of frequencies as equal differences in pitch.

Logarithmic scales are either defined for *ratios* of the underlying quantity, or one has to agree to measure the quantity in fixed units. Deviating from these units means that the logarithmic measure will change by an *additive* constant. The base of the logarithm also has to be specified.

- Richter magnitude scale for strength of earthquakes
- bel and decibel and neper for acoustic power (loudness) and electric power
- cent, minor second, major second, and octave for the relative pitch of notes in music
- logit for odds in statistics
- Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale
- Logarithmic timeline
- counting f-stops for ratios of photographic exposure
- rating low probabilities by the number of 'nines' in the decimal expansion of the probability of their not happening: for example, a system which will fail with a probability of 10
^{-5}is 99.999% reliable: "five nines". - pH for acidity
- stellar magnitude scale for brightness of stars

In the last two examples large values (or ratios) of the underlying quantity will correspond to negative values of the logarithmic measure, because of reversal of the scale by a minus sign in the definition.