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How did Millikan do it?

  1. Oct 26, 2005 #1
    How did Millikan do it???

    I've just completed Millikan's Oildrop experiment (with mixed results) and we haven't actually found the charge of an electron, but simply just tried to demonstrate the quantisation of charge by assuming a value of
    e = 1.6022e-19C.

    Question is how on Earth did Millikan from his data extract a common multiple in all those values? I have tried to find detailed sources on his exact methods but I haven't been able to find sources or his original paper. Methinks it was an abstract statistical handling of the data.

    I do read however this whole ethical issue with him excluding some data that was inconsistent with e...interesting :rolleyes:

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2005 #2


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    You have done the experiment so you are familiar with the equipment and basic methods. The secret to Millikan's success? Patience and repetitions, lots of repetitions. He did not spend 1 or 2 3hr labs, but literally years running the experiment and collecting data.
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