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