J. J. Thomson and the discovery of the electron by E. A. Davis

By E. A. Davis

1997 observed the centenary of 1 of crucial moments in glossy physics - the invention of the electron. This quantity maps the lifestyles and fulfillment of J.J. Thomson, with specific specialize in his rules and experiments resulting in the landmark discovery. A foreword by means of J.J. Thomson's grandson, David Thomson, offers helpful insights into Thomson's character, whereas the copy of unique papers permits the reader to understand Thomson's personal type and frame of mind. The publication describes his early years and schooling, then taking us via his occupation at Cambridge, first as a Fellow of Trinity collage, later as head of the Cavendish Laboratory and eventually as grasp of Trinity and nationwide spokesperson for technological know-how.

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10] Now, by 1884, we find Thomson evincing all the traditions that were to become his hallmark; a committed college man, with a reputation for attacking fundamental problems, seeking unification within an ether-based, mechanical, physics; a man with an enormous fertility of theoretical invention and a fairly cavalier approach to experiment. References Cambridge University Library holds an important collection of Thomson manuscripts, classmark ADD 7654, referred to here as CUL ADD 7654, followed by the particular manuscript number.

Only the intervention of the Chancellor, the Duke of Devonshire, saved the chair by pronouncing that it should be a permanent position. Despite its promising beginnings, Maxwell, the first Cavendish Professor, lacked students to teach, as there were no university regulations requiring even natural sciences students to take a practical exam, and the college dons did not consider the laboratory a fit place for the instruction of gentlemen. Thomson and the Discovery of the Electron the Church of Englandâ 35 .

Thomson drew an analogy with a sphere moving through water; the sphere cannot move < previous page page_14 next page > < previous page page_15 next page > Page 15 without setting the surrounding water in motion and hence its mass is enhanced by that of the moving water. Part of this paper is reproduced on p. 25. The idea that the mass of a body might be partly electrical in origin was completely novel. Thomson did not, however, consider that the concept undermined Newtonian mechanics based on the idea of inertial mass.

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