Contributors to the Atomic Theory

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Contributors to the Atomic Theory

Contributors to the Atomic Theory By: Patrick Nash

These brilliant men have contributed to one of the greatest scientific feats that mankind has ever achieved: understanding the atom. These men's achievements have better helped us understnad the world around us, but they have also led to men developing weapons of mass destruction capable of destroying entire nations...

The final scientist, Robert Millikan, is credited with measuring the charge of the electron and solidifying the heavily doubted existance of subatomic particles. To prove his theory, he conducted the famous oil-drop experiment.

The first "modern" scientist to discover something major concerning the atmoic theory was John Dalton. In 1808 he conducted expermients and began to understand that the most basic building block of matter is the atom. Dalton also began to understand how different atoms compared to each other in terms of their mass. He developed the first and most basic chart concerning atomic mass.

The third scientist consdiered to have had a major impact on the atomic theory was Earnest Rutherford. He is creditied with discovering the nucleus of an atom. Rutherford also postulated that the nucleus of an atom was the small positive mass in the cneter, surrounded by the negatively charged electrons.

J.J. Thompson is the next scientist creditied with a breakthrough in the study of the atom and of matter itslef. He deiscovered the electron within the atoms that Dalton was credited with understanding so well. Thomson forever changed the atmoic model.

The Big Bang: The Beginning of Chemistry

Timeline of the Atomic Theory

Dalton also discovered that atoms of the same element generally had the same mass with few variations. He discovered all of this through his fascination with gasses, specifically their ability to change with temperature, which eventually led to him experimenting with solids and liquids. Dalton actually conducted few expermients. Most of his data came simply from observations of natural phenomenon and the world around him.

John Dalton

Thomson conducted experminets with cathode ray tubes. He shone light waves throught them and calculated the angle at which they were deflected. He found that the angles were the same throughout. The light waves bent towards a positively charged plate at one end of the tube and produced small shining "dots." These dots were later discovered to be electorns or smaller particles within an atom.

Rutherford discovered the nucleus of an atom, as well as the proton, through his famous gold foil experiment. In the experiment, Rutherford fired small particles at a thin sheet of golden foil. Originally it was postulated that the particles would have only small angles of delection, but it was discovered that the particles had large angles of relflection, someeven being shot back at the source. This led to Rutherford to conclude that the mass of an atom is concentrated at its center. The "mass" in the center would be positively charged like the particles that he fired at the gold due to their angles of reflection.

The oil-drop expermiment consisted of a process in which drops of oil were dropped between electrodes. The electrical field produced by these two electrodes was measured, as well as the force of the oil drop passing through the electrical field. These values were the used to calculate the charge of a single electron using Thomson's charge-to-mass ratio.

J.J. Thomson

Robert Millikan

Earnest Rutherford


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