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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 2 Issue 1 (1997), S1430-4171(97)01102-3

Millikanís Oil-Drop Experiments

Allan Franklin

Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Published online: 16 April 1997

Abstract. Millikanís oil-drop experiments are justly regarded as a major contribution to twentieth-century physics. They established the quantization of electric charge, the existence of a fundamental unit of charge, and also measured that unit of charge precisely. As Gullstrand remarked in his Nobel Prize presentation speech, "Millikanís aim was to prove that electricity really has the atomic structure, which, on the base of theoretical evidence, it was supposed to have.... By a brilliant method of investigation and by extraordinarily exact experimental technique Millikan reached his goal.... Even leaving out of consideration the fact that Millikan has proved by these researches that electricity consists of equal units, his exact evaluation of the unit has done physics an inestimable service, as it enables us to calculate with a higher degree of exactitude a large number of the most important physical constants."

Key Words:  Chemistry and History; Millikan; experiment

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Article in PDF format (1.5 MB )

Supporting Materials:

Millik1.pdf (1.55 MB) 10.1007/s00897970102b

Millik2.pdf (1.33 MB) 10.1007/s00897970102c

Issue date: April 16, 1997

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