The Utility of Trial and Error

The Neglect of Experiment. Allan Franklin. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1986. 290 pp., illus. $42.50. A physicist-turned-philosopher, Allan Franklin is interested in experiment. The "neglect" of his title attaches to his new discipline. Philosophers and historians have traditionally taken the nature and role of scientific experiment for granted. Only recently have a few students of science, Franklin among them, seriously begun to examine experimentation. This book collects his essays, a

Andy Pickering
Feb 22, 1987
The Neglect of Experiment. Allan Franklin. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1986. 290 pp., illus. $42.50.


A physicist-turned-philosopher, Allan Franklin is interested in experiment. The "neglect" of his title attaches to his new discipline. Philosophers and historians have traditionally taken the nature and role of scientific experiment for granted. Only recently have a few students of science, Franklin among them, seriously begun to examine experimentation. This book collects his essays, all published since 1979, and integrates them into an occasionally repetitive whole.

At the heart of the book are historical studies of four sets of experiments in modem physics: Millikan's oildrop experiments, which established the quantization and magnitude of the charge on the electron; the experiments that in 1964 and 1965 established the CP (charge-parity) noninvariance of the decays of K particles; the 1957 experiments that established the nonconservation of parity; and the measurements made between 1928 and 1930 by...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?