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Thu, Feb 20

Hills to Scientific Discoveries Grow Steeper

Armed with a stopwatch and a perfume atomizer, Robert Millikan embarked in 1909 on a landmark discovery in physics. Squirting out a mist of oil drops and timing how quickly they fell in the presence of an electrical field, he ultimately showed that the world is awash with tiny, identically charged specks of matter — subatomic particles called electrons. His apparatus could fit on a tabletop, and his findings were recorded in notebooks. One can be read — if you can decipher his handwriting — on the web. Those were simpler days. Read more.