Event DetailsEvent Dates: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 4:00pmSeminar Location: Duane Physics Room G1B20Speaker Name(s): Allan FranklinSpeaker Affiliation(s): University of Colorado, Boulder Seminar Type/SubjectScientific Seminar Type: Physics Department ColloquiumEvent Details & Abstract: Anyone who studies the history of physics quickly realizes that the history of physics presented in physics textbooks is often inaccurate. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The purpose of textbooks is to help students learn physics. An inaccurate history may serve a pedagogical purpose. It may help to explain concepts more clearly than the actual history. I believe, however, that it is important for those of us who teach physics to know the accurate history. In this talk I will discuss three episodes from the history of modern physics: 1) Millikan’s experiments on the photoelectric effect; 2) the Michelson-Morley experiment; and 3) the Ellis-Wooster experiment on the energy spectrum in β decay. Everyone knows that Millikan’s work established the photon theory of light and that the Michelson-Morley experiment was crucial in the genesis of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The problem is that what everyone knows is wrong. The Ellis-Wooster experiment, on the other hand, is rarely discussed in physics texts, but it should be. In this talk I will present a more accurate history of these three experiments.