How many drops did Millikan measure in the original experiment?

1 Answer
Aug 27, 2014

We aren't sure.

Millikan's paper of 1913 reported on 58 drops.

He stated "that this is not a selected group of drops, but represents all the drops experimented upon during 60 consecutive days.”

Yet his lab notebooks show that he took data on many more oil drops than he reported in the paper.

Most scientists believe that Millikan was striving for accuracy by reporting only his most reliable data.

But, even if he had included all the drops in his paper, his value for the elementary charge would not have changed much.