|Refleksion, 1. modul, 2007/2008, id:245|
|Findes på RUb:||Ja|
On the doorstep to the 20. century the basis of one of the prime areas of physics throughout the century was established, the conception of structure of matter. To this time there was great differences in the views of, on one hand, the atomistic nature of matter and on the other hand, if accepting the atomistic structure, if these elementary particles were indeed the atoms, or if the atom could be divided. In 1897 J.J. Thomsen succeeded in detecting the existence of the elctron and thereby establishing the atomistic structure of matter. J.J. Thomsen even succeeded in showing that these subatomic particles were identical for different matter, which led him to suggest that the elctron was indeede a shared fundamental part, an elementary particle. In the 15-20 years to come science searched for the actual charge of this elementary particle, the "atom of electricity". A great deal of methods and scientist competed in who were able to establish the most acuurate value for the charge. One of these competitors was Robert A. Millikan who happened to be victorious. The method of Millikan will be described in this report and so will the evolutionary scientific process which brought him to the victory through equal amounts of smartness, diligence and chance. The resulting method, the experimental set-up as well as the physic/algebraic manipulations tends to resemble a "miracle". In recent years accusations has been made towards Millikan, that he, in his strive for perfection, has violated the ethic rules of science - acted with misconduct. This report seeks to analyse the grounding and legitimacy of these accusations by comparing the claimed actions of misconduct to the norms of the scientific community. The report concludes that based on the available sources, it is not "beyond any doubt", that Millikan is guilty as charged. On the other hand, it seems that Millikan has indeed acted with misconduct, but not in the way that he is actually accused. Besides taking the credit for his own doings Millikan seems to have made a deal involving him being credited for the work of others. Taking credit for the work of others is just as well an act of scientific misconduct - and one that in no way is regarded as less offensive.