International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (3):223 – 243 (1997)
|Abstract||An interesting case of the complex interaction between theory and experiment can be found in many experiments in quantum physics employing classical reasoning. It is expected that this practice would lead to quantitative inaccuracy, unless the measurements' results were averaged. Whether or not this inaccuracy is significant depends critically on the details of the particular experimental situation. The example of Millikan's photoelectric experiment, in which he obtained a precise value of Planck's constant, provides a good case for illustrating the process of estimating the inaccuracy resulting from the classical-quantum discrepancy. In the case of Millikan's experiment, it seems that a significant inaccuracy was avoided because of fortunate coincidences. In general, in the absence of a careful analysis, it is impossible to say whether the use of classical reasoning interferes with the accuracy of a quantum-physical experiment.|
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