A History of the Atomic Theory

The atomic theory was a theory based on the idea that every item in this world could be broken down into an extremely small particle called the atom. If the idea had never been presented and recorded, then there would have been no attempts to prove it, and science would have suffered as a result Dealing with the events before the birth of Christ, the only significant scientific development was in sixth century B.C. It was the discovery of static electricity by rubbing a piece of amber against fur and observing that the fur stood on end.

Thalleus of Maletus believe that this power was derived from the amber, not to any particle. A man by the name of Democritus thought it was something else two centuries later. He believed that all matter was permanently divisible into eensy-beensy particles called atoms that had statical electric properties (Atoms). We now enter a period called the Dark Ages. If events ever took place, they were not recorded.

Let us now jump into our time machine towards 1803… In 1803, John Dalton theorized that if all atoms exist, they must follow the Law of Conservation of Mass and the Law of Proportions. His beliefs were published as The Atomic Theory. The five postulates were: All matter has definite particles called atoms, atoms are indestructable, atoms of one particular element are identical, and when atoms combine they make more complex particles (Daltons Atomic Theory). Even though it is not chronologically correct, a few modern add-ons to this Atomic Theory would be appropriate.

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Two additions are: There are three subatomic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. The second addition states that the nucleus is the center of all the subatomic particles (Modern Atomic Theory). In 1896, the proton was observed by E. Goldstein. Upon reading this report, a man named Joseph Thomson instantly became fascinated by this and devoted his time to solely the Atomic Theory. He eventually discovered in the same year the existence of positive and negative charges in subatomic particles (Atomic Theory).

The following year, Thomson discovered the electron using a cathode ray tube. He also originated the idea that the electron had a negative charge (Atomic Theory). In 1910, Robert Millikan discovered the exact charge of the electron by using the oil-drop experiment. He won a Nobel Prize in this year (Millikans Oil Drop Experiment). Ernest Rutherford began testing his gold-foil experiment in 1911 and proved that there were positively charged subatomic particles in 1919. In the aforementioned year, Rutherford developed his own diagram of the atom. It described the atom as having a nucleus like a sun, with the subatomic particles orbiting around it. This was proven wrong when physicists said if his model was correct, atoms should emit a rainbow color. They do not (Atoms). During 1912, Niels Bohr theorized that electrons did not spin into the nucleus. The theory also stated that electrons orbit at certain allowed distances and atoms radiate energy when an electron jumps from a higher energy orbit. “Here’s some rules that seem impossible, but they describe the way atoms operate, so let’s pretend they’re correct and use them, said Niels Bohr himself. Alas, he changed it to make it less vague. He worked with Arnold Summerfeld to develop a new theory, which stated that orbits can appear circular or elliptical and can go through the nucleus (Atoms).

In 1930, Ernest Lawrence developed the cyclotron, a cheap version of the particle accelerator and this led to the discovery of subatomic particle properties (Atomic Theory). James Chadwick discovered a third subatomic particle was the neutron in 1932. The neutron has no charge whatsoever. Zero. Zip. Nothing (Atomic Theory). We have now reached 1935. An intresting event in this year was the ideas of Mr. Erwin Schrodinger. Schrodinger developed a mind experiment called Schrodingers Cat. Schrodinger tried to find the probability of finding a subatomic particle in a specific point of space. Schrodinger postulated a sealed vessel containing a live cat and a device triggered by a quantum event such as the radioactive decay of the nucleus. If the quantum event occurs, cyanide is released and the cat dies; if the event does not occur the cat lives. Schrodinger argued that Bohr’s interpretation of events in quantum mechanics means that the cat could only be said to be alive or dead when the vessel has been opened and the situation inside it has been observed. The probability of the cat dying is one in two. This paradox is still being discussed in science today (Hawking). I conclude that a theory developed over two centuries ago can still have some impact on modern science and our world around us. Chemistry would be a lot easier if the atom had not been developed, but the quest for knowledge overcame these scientists and developed reasonings that we still use today.

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A History of the Atomic Theory. (2022, Jul 23). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-history-of-the-atomic-theory/

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