Allan Franklin

Professor. Ph.D. Cornell University, 1965.

Allan and the Blue Bike


Professor Franklin's research is on the history and philosophy of science, with particular emphasis on the role of experiment in physics. He has done historical studies on parity conconservation, CP-violation, and  Millikan's oil drop experiment. On the philosophical side, he has worked on the Duhem-Quine problem,  the question of how one can localize support or refutation, and on confirmation theory, using a Bayesian approach. He has also discussed an epistemology of experiment, a set of strategies that provide rational belief in experimental  results. These strategies distinguish between a valid experimental result and an artifact created by the experimental  apparatus. More recently he has worked on the fallibility and corrigibility of experimental results and the resolution of discordant results. He has also completed studies of the interaction of theory and experiment in the development of the theory of weak interactions from Fermi to V-A, a history of atomic parity violation experiments and their relation to the Weinberg- Salam unified theory of electroweak interactions. He has also worked on the history of the "Fifth Force" in gravity and a review of the history of the proposed 17-keV neutrino. He has written a history of the neutrino, from its proposal in 1931 to the present and his most recent book Selectivity and Discord: Two Problems of Experiment deals with the issues of experimenter bias and of the resolution of discordant experimental results. His most recent work, "Ending the Mendel-Fisher Controversy," is on the history of genetics.

Selected Publications

  • The Neglect of Experiment, (Cambridge University Press, 1986).
  • "Experiment, Theory, Choice and the Duhem-Quine Problem" in Theory and Experiment, D. Batens and J.P. van Dendegem (eds.), D. Reidel Publishing Co. (1988).
  • Experiment, Right or Wrong (Cambridge University Press, 1990).
  • "The Appearance and Disappearance of the 17-keV Neutrino," Reviews of Modern Physics (1995).
  • The Rise and Fall of Fifth Force (New York: American Institute of Physics, 1993)
  • Can That Be Right? Essays on Experiment, Evidence, and Science. (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers (1999)
  • Are There Really Neutrinos? An Evidential History (Perseus Books, 2000)
  • Selectivity and Discord: Two Problems of Experiment (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002)
  • Franklin, A. (2007). The Role of Experiments in the Natural Sciences: Examples from Physics and Biology. General Philosophy of Science: Focal Issues. T. A. F. Kuipers, Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Franklin, A., A. W. F. Edwards, D. J. Fairbanks, et al. (2008) Ending the Mendel-Fisher Controversy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

For a recent article on "Experiment in Physics" click here.

   I am a professor in the Physics Department.

Allan Franklin
phone  (303) 492-8610
FAX  (303) 492-2998

Dept. of Physics 
University of Colorado
390 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309 USA

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