On Friday, Paolo and I are meeting with Jim Stango, Pitt's physics demonstrator, to borrow the Physics and Astronomy Department's miniaturized PASCO apparatus. We'll take it to the HPS lab and start figuring out how to use it. On February 14 we're planning to use it in a session of the Experimental HPS seminar Paolo is running this semester.
The plan at this point is to start with the miniaturized apparatus and then to use our experiences with it as the basis for a proposal to work with Millikan's original equipment. At that point, we should be able to show pretty convincingly that we understand the experiment and that we have specific questions about it that working with the original apparatus can help us answer. The biggest question will be whether the good folks at Cal Tech will be willing to let outsiders get their hands on a major piece of physics history.