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Physics Colloquium Series, Spring 2016

Feb 11 , Thursday: 4:15 p.m. / Rockefeller 301

Philip Taylor , CWRU Physics

Albert Michelson, the Michelson-Morley experiment, and the dichotomy between megaprojects and table-top science

During the past 130 years the range of sizes and costs for scientific apparatus has expanded enormously. While some groundbreaking science is still done at modest cost, other experiments now require several billions of dollars to achieve their goals. A description of some significant milestones in the career of Albert Abraham Michelson illustrates how in this one individual's life this divergence may have had its first exemplar, as his vision expanded beyond the exquisitely precise interferometer used in the Michelson-Morley experiment to the mile-long vacuum tube used in his later measurements of the speed of light.