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Experiment, Then and Now

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, April 30, 2012 - 10:00am

Speaker Name(s): 

Allan Franklin

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Departament of Physics - University of Colorado Boulder
Seminar Type/Subject

Event Details & Abstract: 

One interesting aspect of high-energy physics from the 1960’s to the present has been the changes in the statistical criterion required for a discovery claim. In this talk I will discuss these changes as well as other changes in the reporting of experimental results, particularly those involving elementary particles from 1893, the publication date of Volume 1 of Physical Review to the present. Topics will include the problem of exclusion of data and the selection of data, the scale of experiments, the change in from a very realistic presentation of an experiment to a more schematic presentation, and the amount of historical detail presented. Examples will include Robert Millikan’s oil drop experiments, Edwin Hall’s experiments on falling bodies, and some recent experiments on the pentaquark.Allan Franklin began his career as an experimental particle physicist. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1965, and for the past 35 years he has worked in the history and philosophy of science, particularly on the roles of experiment in physics. In 2000 Prof. Franklin was selected as the Miegunyah Distinguished Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and in 2002 as the University Distinguished Research Lecturere at the University of Colorado.Prof. Franklin has twice been Chair of the Forum on the History of Physics of the American Physical Society and a member of the Governing Board of the Philosophy of Science Association. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Philosophy of Science, Physics in Perspective, Science and Education, the European Journal for the History of Physics, Archimedes, and Foundations of Science.