Fundamental Physics/Electron

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Electron[edit]

Electrons are negatively charged subatomic particles.

Notation
Charge -
Mass

Discovery of the electron[edit]

The Geiger–Marsden experiment
Top: Expected results: alpha particles passing through the plum pudding model of the atom with negligible deflection.
Bottom: Observed results: a small portion of the particles were deflected by the concentrated positive charge of the nucleus.

The physicist J. J. Thomson measured the mass of cathode rays, showing they were made of particles, but were around 1800 times lighter than the lightest atom, hydrogen. Therefore, they were not atoms, but a new particle, the first subatomic particle to be discovered, which he originally called "corpuscle" but was later named electron, after particles postulated by George Johnstone Stoney in 1874. He also showed they were identical to particles given off by photoelectric and radioactive materials.[1] It was quickly recognized that they are the particles that carry electric currents in metal wires, and carry the negative electric charge within atoms. Thomson was given the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work. Thus he overturned the belief that atoms are the indivisible, ultimate particles of matter.[2] Thomson also incorrectly postulated that the low mass, negatively charged electrons were distributed throughout the atom in a uniform sea of positive charge. This became known as the plum pudding model.

See Also[edit]

Electron on Wikipedia

  1. Thomson, J. J. (August 1901). "On bodies smaller than atoms". The Popular Science Monthly (Bonnier Corp.): 323–335. https://books.google.com/?id=3CMDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA323. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nobel1096