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Top 10 Beautiful Physics Experiments

The list below shows the top 10 most frequently mentioned experiments by readers of Physics World.

Top 10 beautiful experiments
1 Young's double-slit experiment applied to the interference of single electrons
2 Galileo's experiment on falling bodies (1600s)
3 Millikan's oil-drop experiment (1910s)
4 Newton's decomposition of sunlight with a prism (1665-1666)
5 Young's light-interference experiment (1801)
6 Cavendish's torsion-bar experiment (1798)
7 Eratosthenes' measurement of the Earth's circumference (3rd century BC)
8 Galileo's experiments with rolling balls down inclined planes (1600s)
9 Rutherford's discovery of the nucleus (1911)
10 Foucault's pendulum (1851)

Others experiments that were cited included:

  • Archimedes' experiment on hydrostatics
  • Roemer's observations of the speed of light
  • Joule's paddle-wheel heat experiments
  • Reynolds's pipe flow experiment
  • Mach & Salcher's acoustic shock wave
  • Michelson-Morley measurement of the null effect of the ether
  • Röntgen's detection of Maxwell's displacement current
  • Oersted's discovery of electromagnetism
  • The Braggs' X-ray diffraction of salt crystals
  • Eddington's measurement of the bending of starlight
  • Stern-Gerlach demonstration of space quantization
  • Schrödinger's cat thought experiment
  • Trinity test of nuclear chain reaction
  • Wu et al.'s measurement of parity violation
  • Goldhaber's study of neutrino helicity
  • Feynman dipping an O-ring in water
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