Robert A. Millikan
An experiment performed by Robert Millikan in 1909 determined the size of the charge on an electron. He received the Nobel Prize for his work.
Robert Andrews Millikan was born on the 22nd of March, 1868, in Morrison, Ill. (U.S.A.), as the second son of the Reverend Silas Franklin Millikan and Mary Jane Andrews.
After working for a short time as a court reporter, he entered Oberlin College (Ohio) in 1886. During his undergraduate course his favourite subjects were Greek and mathematics; but after his graduation in 1891 he took, for two years, a teaching post in elementary physics. It was during this period that he developed his interest in the subject in which he was later to excel. In 1893, after obtaining his mastership in physics, he was appointed Fellow in Physics at Columbia University. He afterwards received his Ph.D. (1895) for research on the polarization of light emitted by incandescent surfaces – using for this purpose molten gold and silver at the U.S. Mint.
During World War I, Millikan was Vice-Chairman of the National Research Council, playing a major part in developing anti-submarine and meteorological devices. He has been the recipient of the Comstock Prize of the National Academy of Sciences, of the Edison Medal of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, of the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society of Great Britain, and of the Nobel Prize for Physics 1923. He was also made Commander of the Legion of Honour, and received the Chinese Order of Jade.
Visit the official web site of the Nobel Prize to learn more about Robert A. Millikan.
Excerpted with permission, www.nobelprize.org.