By Colin Cooke
Knowing, designing and carrying out experiments is on the middle of technology. this article introduces the basic rules on which physicists should still construct a radical experimental method of their discipline.
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Extra info for An introduction to experimental physics
Not a bad return for a bit of computing. 8 is a good fit to the points. This is because the top two points have twice the error of the other four and so have only a quarter of the weight. Judgement by eye, with which you are probably familiar, is not so obvious in such cases, but by all means check my working if in doubt; that would be good science. Combining the equations quoted earlier gives (4) Thus a graph of Vmax on the y axis against 1/λ on the x axis should yield a straight line, with a slope of hc/e and an intercept on y of −A/e.
Millikan argued that it is one thing to suppose that an electrical charge produces a strain in the surrounding medium, but quite another that it is that strain, just as a person standing on a bridge produces a strain in it, but cannot be described as merely a strain in the bridge. The practical difference between the two points of view is that the former encourages us to look for attributes of the person other than the effect on the GENERAL DISCUSSION 39 bridge. Similarly, we should look for properties of electrical charge other than the strain that it produces in the medium.
To avoid doing this, or preparing another table, it is good practice to leave a couple of columns empty, in case you feel the need to carry out some other transformation not thought of at the time. Corrections should be made by crossing out the wrong value and writing in the correct one, not by overwriting, as this can become unclear. Neatness is desirable, clarity essential. Ambiguity may arise if you place any powers of ten alongside the units at the head of a column, since it is not always obvious whether the number has already been multiplied by 10, or is to be done so by the reader.
An introduction to experimental physics by Colin Cooke