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90. Millikan and Ehrenhaft: a lesson in scientific thinking

Today (June 2nd) is the 102nd anniversary of Robert Millikan’s publication of his measurements of the charge of the electron. But he had a competitor – the congenial Viennese physicist Felix Ehrenhaft, a frequent host to Einstein and others. So how come Millikan got a Nobel Prize for his work, while Ehrenhaft has disappeared into scientific obscurity. It’s a ...

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38. Dispassionate observation or judgment: which is better for science?

Scientists should be dispassionate observers, not letting their personal beliefs prevent them from seeing facts as they are. Oh, yeah? Consider the story of two scientists from the early twentieth century. One was American, the other Austrian. One faithfully recorded every measurement that he made, and included them all in his calculations, with no personal ...

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