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Science of Atomism: A Brief History


If, in some cataclysm, all scientific knowledge was to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on
to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest
words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, if you wish to call it that) that all
things are made of atoms – little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each
other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.
Richard P. Feynman

2.1 Atomism Plato (427–347 bc) and Aristotle (384–322 bc), how-
ever, completely rejected the ideas of atomism.
Nevertheless, the ideas of Democritus were further
In natural philosophy, atomism is the theory that all the
developed by the influential Greek Philosopher
objects in the universe are composed of very small,
Epicurus almost a century later. One of the most impor-
indestructible elements – atoms. The notion of atomism
tant followers of the Epicurean philosophy was a
first arose as a result of philosophic deduction. This
Roman poet named Titus Lucretius carus (96–55 bc),
idea of atomism is by no means self-evident. Since
who explained the philosophy of atomism in a long
ancient times, philosophers in many cultures have been
poem entitled, De rerun Natura (On Natural Things).
speculating on the nature of the fundamental substance
One copy of this poem survived the Dark and Middle
or substances of which the universe is composed. These
ages (it was discovered in 1417) and became a major
fundamental or basic substances are called elements in
source of the Greek theory of atomism. The French
English, from a Latin word of unknown origin.
philosopher Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655) accepted
In India, during the sixth century bc, Kanada and
atomism and spread this doctrine throughout Europe.
Pakhuda Katyayana had propounded ideas about the
atomic constitution (Anu and Paramanu) of the mate-
rial world (Limouris 2006). Philosophy and science
were not originally separate, but were born together as 2.2 Chemical Elements
natural philosophy in Greece, at the beginning of the
sixth century. In fact, the ancient Greeks were the The British scientist Robert Boyle (1627–1691) was
first to propose that all matter in the universe was cre- strongly influenced by Gassendi’s writings and was
ated from the following four elements: water, earth, probably the first person to perform experiments in
fire and air. They also believed that matter is continu- connection with atomism. Boyle carefully measured
ous; there is no vacuum (space with out any matter). and demonstrated an inverse relationship between the
The Greek philosopher Lucippus and his pupil pressure and the volume of air (known as Boyle’s Law),
Democritus (460–370 bc) (Fig. 2.1) conceived the which clearly suggested that both atoms and vacuum
idea of an atom as the smallest piece of a substance. are real. He, thus, revived the atomic hypothesis and
The word atom comes from the Greek word atomos called it the Corpuscular Theory of Matter. Newton
(ατομοσ) meaning “not cuttable” (unbreakable) and also wrote in his Opticks that all matter is composed of
advocated that atoms are in continuous motion and are solid and impenetrable particles – expressing a view
indestructible. The most famous Greek philosophers similar to Democritus and Boyle.

S. Vallabhajosula, Molecular Imaging: Radiopharmaceuticals for PET and SPECT, 11
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-76735-0_2, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

published in 1789.1 Chemical Laws ments was a major step forward. These chemical laws two atoms each (also known as diatomic molecule). John Dalton. A New the quantitative sciences of physics and chemistry System of chemical philosophy. the French chemist. supported the hypothesis that each element consists of Avogadro’s hypothesis was a brilliant guess and we a certain type of atom and that compounds are formed now know. In 1808. based on the kinetic theory of gases. who noted that a series of gas. gases. Dalton stated that each were born and 15 chemical elements came to be element is made up of identical atoms and presented a known. Joseph Proust vided in 1811 by Amadeo Avogadro. Dalton elementaire de chemie. John Dalton converted the atomic hypothesis into two or more simpler substances. the 2.2. was discovered by the Frenchman. The of compounds. and earths. The principle of the constant composition of oxygen make one volume of water vapor.2. who hypothesized that equal volumes of any gas exactly the same proportion of elements by mass.1 Democritus. gases combine in definite reactions and discovered the law of conservation of proportions by volume. and oxy. In his book. hydrogen. an Italian physi- who showed that a given compound always contains cist. at a given temperature and pressure always contain Proust’s discovery stimulated John Dalton (Fig. For example. In the early 1700. Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac made the remark- Lavoisier advocated the importance of accurate mea. Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier atoms of each element had individual weights and that (1743–1794) in his remarkable book titled. metals. Many of the atomic masses proposed by Dalton were later proved be incorrect. into a quantitative theory. he proposed that a substance was an element if it could not be broken In 1808. nonmetals. that from specific combinations of these atoms. listed 33 made the simple assumption that one atom of hydro- substances as chemical elements under four major gen combined with one atom of oxygen make a mol- categories. theory of atoms. like hydrogen (H2). discovered and oxygen (O 2). known as the law of definite propor. published in 1661. Avogadro was the first to realize that certain compounds can be formed by the combination of gaseous elements. ecule of water. the Greek philosopher. he observed that mass which states that: mass is neither created nor two volumes of hydrogen combined with one volume destroyed. an English chemist and physicist . able observation that although all elements combine in surements in quantitative experiments of chemical definite proportions of weight.1) equal number of the particles (atoms or molecules) of an English school teacher. explanation of the law of combining volumes was pro- tions. He prepared the first table of atomic such as carbon dioxide. nitrogen (N2) two elements in different ratios and. under ordinary conditions contain the law of multiple proportions. weights for different elements and suggested that gen. but the con- struction of a table of atomic weights of different ele- 2. 2. thus. nitrogen. under normal conditions of temperature and pressure Fig. In his publication. 2.12 2 Science of Atomism: A Brief History Boyle was also the first chemist to recognize the significance of a chemical element. Following the discovery of important gases. Traite these could be calculated relative to one another.2 Atomic Theory Skeptical Chemist.

thus. Subsequently. Coulomb discovered that the forces of electrical attraction and repulsion are directly propor- tional to the product of two charges and inversely pro- 2. but are deeply related. A certain piece of iron of charge is defined as the amount of electric charge that ore or loadstone. wax.3 Electricity and Magnetism 13 (NTP). Gilbert also recognized that molecular weight and one mole of any substance con.2. called the periodic physicists in many countries were trying to understand system of elements. Franklin also observed that elec- property of an element.3 Electricity and Magnetism portional to the square of the distance between them. The amount of electricity physicists believed in the reality of atoms however. a bits of hair and other materials. He also proposed that electricity is some of atoms or molecules. Meyer. a contemporary of Galileo care. Coulomb also found that the scientific investigation. De Magnete. For example. atomic weights of many elements between 1814 and In contrast. forces. after the Greek word inorganic phenomenon (also known as galvanism) by electron for amber and found that other substances such as demonstrating that electricity could be produced when glass. was the first In the late 1860s. unlike types of electricity Berzelius. the quantitative aspects of both electric and magnetic cal properties recurred at regular. In chemistry. de Coulomb developed the so-called torsion balance tant clues and the experimental evidence necessary to for measuring very weak forces and published his results demonstrate the existence of atoms. never knew the exact value of this The French chemist Charles-Francois de Cisternay universal constant. (1706–1790). in which he concluded that the gravitational attraction between two bodies also that the planet earth can be regarded as a giant magnet followed the so called inverse square law. electricity (vitreous and resinous). dentally discovered electric current while studying the Since ancient times. realized that there are two types of NA was determined to be 6. The English physician William strength of the force of attraction or repulsion between Gilbert (1544–1603). electricity and magnetism are dif- tains Avogadro’s number (NA) of atoms or molecules. first found near the town of Magnesia passes a given point in one second in a wire that carries on the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea was the basis for a one ampere current. when rubbed with fur will attract small His friend. Almost 100 years later the value of Du Fay.022 ´ 1023. One coulomb been known since ancient times. people have also been aware that phenomenon of muscular contraction in frog’s legs. Alessandro Giusuppe Volta (1745–1827). acci- south always pointing to the geographical north. the concept of mole sort of fluid (an effluvium) that is produced or rubbed when (as a unit of mass) is defined as gram atomic weight or bodies are rubbed together. the Russian Dmitri one to introduce the fundamental hypothesis of the con- Ivanovich Mendeleev and the German Julius Lothar servation of electric charge. despite their similarities. on electric and magnetic forces during 1785–1791. (positive or negative) in any body is called the electric they accepted that atomic weight is a very important charge of the body. In 1687. French physicist Charles Augustine The discovery of electricity eventually provided impor. By the ciency of electricity as negative electricity and to an end of the nineteenth century. the American inventor Benjamin Franklin 1826. More specifically. the magnetic poles declines as the square of the distance fully studied the magnetic interactions and published between the poles increases. Gilbert first introduced the physicist soon proved that electric current is purely an term electric (electrica in Latin).4 l of any gas contain exactly the same number property as amber. which are very dif- Based on Avogadro’s hypothesis. known as Coulomb’s law helped The phenomena of magnetism and electricity have to establish the unit for the electric charge. a piece of amber. arranged the elements in the order of increasing During the second half of the eighteenth century. atomic weight in a tabular form. He referred to the defi- ward symbolic representations of alchemists. and gems also exhibit similar attractive two different metals were both dipped into a salt . 22. Avogadro however. not all chemists and excess as positive electricity. He also invented a simple set of symbols for ele. extremely subtle particles. concluded that electricity consists of a ments along with a system for writing the chemical single kind of fluid. and that this fluid consists of formulas of compounds. this law. tricity is not created or destroyed and. ferent phenomena. periodic. in order to replace the awk. Jons Jakob ferent from each other. Newton showed the famous book. intervals. since elements with similar chemi. a Swedish chemist published more accurate attract each other while like types repel each other. with geographical north and south poles. eventually. the magnetic In 1786 the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani. sulfur. two chemists.

Ca. Thus the concept of electromagnetism as a uni- trolyte (salt solution) induces chemical changes and fied force was realized. in an attempt to produce a large electric cur. carry equal amount of electricity while multivalent Faraday was the first to propose the idea of a field of ions carry correspondingly larger charges. thus. George Johnstone Stoney (1894).2 Electromagnetism tally observed that when terminals of wires from a bat- tery are immersed in a tube of water. pass is continuously moved in the direction it is Mg.1 Electrolysis electric charge. the field concept of existence of a universal unit of electric charge. Electricity. For a given solution. This pile using a number of alternating copper and iron or indivisible unit of electricity identified in electrolysis zinc disks. cal formulation by James Clerk Maxwell. separated by layers of cloth soaked in a salt was given the name electron (ηλεκτρον). Andre Marie Ampere. In the 1860s. Sr and Ba) based on the decomposition of molten pointed.500 C. salts or salt solutions. known Faraday was developed into a quantitative mathemati- at that time only to be attached to the chemical species.3. While repeating Volta’s experiments. Volta’s invention of an electric battery had a sig. proposed that Faraday’s ions were actually atoms carrying positive and negative 2. as Michael Faraday. observed that parallel wires attract or repell ions (Greek word meaning wanderer) to describe the each other if they carry electric currents flowing in the chemical species passing through the solution. the amount of material depos- current in one coil can induce a current in another coil ited or liberated on the electrodes is proportional to placed nearby. Faraday introduced the term in Paris. the Greek solution. forces (or simply field) to explain how forces act over The Faraday laws. In 1820. This was the discovery of chemi.3. To produce a large electric current 96. K. they bubble off. Oersted also observed that a magnet will exert a force cal decomposition by means of an electric current. amount of electricity and discovered two basic laws. He soon discovered a wire exerts a force on a compass needle. A Faraday of electricity can be viewed as in the 1800’s Volta constructed what is known as Volta containing Avogadro’s number of electrical units. elements can appear at either electrode. He also same or opposite directions. one end assistant and protégé called it in the 1830s. netic forces (like gravity) were considered as acting 2. or a on a coil of wire (solenoid) carrying an electric current electrolysis. The Swedish chemist nificant impact on both chemistry and physics. it will trace out a circle around the wire. Faraday carefully measured tiny electric currents within the particles of the the mass of an element produced as a function of the magnet.14 2 Science of Atomism: A Brief History solution. William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle in England. If they are professor of mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique gases. for the first time. a professor of chemistry at the Oersted demonstrated that an electric current deflects a Royal Institution in London found that various salts compass needle. showing an intimate connection could be decomposed by passing an electric current between electricity and magnetism. acting like the north pole and the other end as the south The passage of an electric current through an elec. Faraday also observed that a magnet can induce an electric current in a wire and that the electric 1. word for amber. In 1820. Before Faraday. the elctric and mag- the total amount of electricity. respectively. who had been Day’s – the solenoid would act like a bar magnet. 2. Davy (1778–1829). a British . suggested the large distances. If the com- series of alkali and alkaline earth elements (Na. a professor of and oxygen gas at the positive wire. Soon Humphrey physics at the University of Copenhagen. The monovalent ions of different substances also across empty space between the interacting objects. pole. He con- introduced the terms anion and cation for positive and cluded that all magnetism is electromagnetism and that negative ions and anode and cathode for positive the properties of a magnet (or loadstone) are due to and negative electrodes. thus. by the Irish physicist and astronomer rent. acciden. Savante August Arrhenius in his theory of ionic dissociation presented in 1887. was produced as a result of He defined that one Faraday of electricity represents a chemical reaction. A current carrying through molten salt solutions. hydrogen gas is The credit for the discovery of electromagnetism produced at the wire attached to a negative terminal belongs to Hans Christian Oersted. In 1831.

In contrast. which he called spectrum (from a Latin word Fahrenheit assumed that the temperature of a mixture of meaning “ghost”). while setting up an oscillating elec. separate from that of tem- centimeters to kilometers. temperature. the Dutch physicist. lay far beyond the infrared radiation and tury helped to explain the nature of heat and to establish could have wavelengths of anywhere between a few units for the quantity of heat. gas are expected to drop to zero value. at –273°C.2.000 km s−1 or 3. Thomas Young. in 1864. 2.4 Thermodynamics 15 physicist. Maxwell showed that electric and magnetic 2. In 1801. In 1801. In 1743. In 1791. ice and salt is zero while the body temperature is set at Huygens (1629–1695) revealed that light is composed 96. Energy and Temperature tric current in a rectangular wire. Almost a cen- wavelengths. Using his equations of the first thermometer in an attempt to express the Maxwell was also able to show that the electromag- amount of heat in quantitative terms. The wavelengths exceedingly smaller than that of visible Scotch physician Joseph Black regarded heat as a sub- light. Both these scales (700 nm) than violet (400 nm). but only as a com- bined electromagnetic field with each of the compo- The scientific study of heat started with the construction nents at right angles to each other. In 1665. Around 1800. The first thermometer using mercury 1010 cm s−1. Heinrich Rudolph Hertz. His equa- compressibility of air and other gases. astronomer Anders Celsius introduced a Celsius or cen- showed that the different colors of the spectrum have tigrade scale and showed that the freezing point of water different wavelengths. cient of mercury is relatively constant. These rays called Two different doctrines developed in the eighteenth cen- radiowaves. electromag.4 Thermodynamics fields do not exist independently. accidentally discov- ered a new kind of radiation. the German physicist Daniel Gabriel cles. 1/273 of its initial rays when he observed that a paper soaked in silver volume at 0°C for each degree of increase in tempera- nitrate solution darkens more rapidly when exposed to ture. thus. such as X-rays and gamma rays. Newton showed that sunlight is was built in Italy around 1650 by the Accademia del not pure but consists of a band of colored light parti- Cimento. however. the Swedish lengths. at constant pressure was measured by Volta and was Even before Maxwell. red has longer wavelength is 0°C and the boiling point is 100°C. Similarly the pressure of any gas at a constant chemist. In 1714. Boyle discov- tions also suggested that there are many more varieties ered that the volume of a gas at a constant temperature of electromagnetic radiations. mer. On this Fahrenheit scale. Thus. Since electromagnetic are based on the assumption that the expansion coeffi- radiation travels with the same speed as light. In 1592. which our eyes can not see. the pressure and volume of any the dark area beyond the violet end of spectrum. the German the gas. John William Ritter discovered ultraviolet volume increases at a constant rate. he did not introduce tion with a constant speed of 300. theory heat is a substance netic radiations. confirming Maxwells’ electromagnetic stance and called it calor. the German–British astrono- found to be 1/273 on the Celcius scale. According to one.0 × temperature scale. Almost 20 years after Maxwell’s prediction of the existence of electromagnetic radiations of different wavelengths. He defined the unit of heat as theory. the amount necessary to raise the temperature of 1 lb of . Subsequently. Maxwell theory predicted that radiations tury later it was discovered that gases expand at higher of different wave lengths. differing only in their is inversely proportional to its pressure. William Herschel in 1800 discovered infra red two French chemists Joseph Gay-Lussac and Jacques rays by showing that the temperature of the dark area Charles observed that this expansion coefficient is the beyond red end of the spectrum is almost one degree same for all gases regardless of the chemical nature of higher than that of visible light. Galileo netic field propagates through space as waves carrying first invented an instrument known as thermoscope to away energy in the form of free electromagnetic radia- measure the temperature.1 Heat. far with or without mass (or weight) while the other theory beyond the ultraviolet X-rays were discovered with suggests that heat is a type of motion or vibration.4. an English physicist. perature. the expansion coefficient for air can exist. water has a freezing point of waves with different colors having different wave- of 32 and a boiling point of 212. in 1888 the German physicist. Maxwell was able to conclude that light is an electro- While working on the mechanical properties and the magnetic radiation with certain wavelengths.

investigations were initiated to In the beginning of the nineteenth century. Maxwell’s equation pre- dicts that at −273. the corresponding spectra contains only velocity distribution in a monoatomic gas. The British scientist. if we look through a prism at the light emitted by a hot cules and the temperature of gas. The significance of these lines (the relationship between heat production and mechanical signals coming from atoms and molecular species) was work and in the process discovered the law of conserva.16°C can be regarded as absolute zero based on the Kelvin scale of temperature. ber of molecules in a given volume of gas. In the Metric system.2 Emission of Light to detect the particles of electricity. good enough the observations lacked any significance. which fine and equally spaced scratches or grooves) light Benjamin Thompson (also known as Count Rumford) into its component colors and he observed that the presented some data which suggested that heat is a type spectrum of colors is intersected by a large number of of motion and not a material substance. the temperature of −273. the average kinetic energy of gas 2. cally. Therefore. the ideas very thin that can separate black lines. Ce. was discovered by Kirchhoff. In 1838. he could not frequency and rapidly becomes more intense. His equations can be absorb the same light frequencies which they can emit used to calculate the average kinetic energy of gas mol. specific hot gaseous elements.16 2 Science of Atomism: A Brief History water by 1°F.4. explain the relationship between the velocity of mole. Prescott Joule. while other to do work or to produce heat. in 1860. and the aver.5 Major Discoveries molecules will have zero kinetic energy.5. and Ga. however. yellow or red color. In contrast. He also invented a device. mathematically. the Englishman James Wilhelm von Bunsen and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff. In 1799. and molecules.16°C. that when pure sodium or potassium is introduced into Maxwell discovered a statistical law which governs the Bunsen flame. Tl. such as Thompson (also known as Baron or Lord Kelvin) sug. sufficiently high temperatures. since the vacuum was not prisms of much better quality. At room temperature most of the radia- that the pressure of a gas depends on the mass. The law that all substances lute mass of the gas molecules. . The Charles and Gay. Thus. However. he found that the number of molecules in a given Bunsen and Kirchhoff quickly realized that the dark lines velocity interval is proportional to the density of gas and in the solar spectrum correspond to the emission lines of depends only on the temperature of the gas and the abso. 2. Rb. using through a vacuum. In. are also emitted. In a Lussac law clearly demonstrated that the pressure of a Bunsen burner however. physicist. we see a continuous spectrum from red to violet. Von Frauenhofer of Count Rumford were further developed by the German recognized that these lines correspond to emission lines physician Julius Robert Meyer who tried to establish a in sparks and flames. In order 2. Subsequently. tungsten) measure the mechanical equivalent of heat and by 1875. Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826) repeated Faraday was the first to actually force an electric current Newton’s experiments on the solar spectrum. Bunsen discovered on Joule’s work on the mechanical equivalent of heat. gested that the kinetic energy of gas molecules be used to establish a temperature scale. The spectral anal- ecules at any temperature. performed many experiments to clearly It is well known that metals (such as iron. become luminous or give off visible light when heated to he was able to show that one calorie is equal to 4. the num. going from red to yel- precisely. at a high temperature. energy can be defined as the capacity low to white as it becomes hotter and hotter. In 1738. the emitted radiation has a high age velocity of the gas molecules. 1 calorie is the amount known as diffraction grating (a plate of glass or metal on of heat needed to raise 1 g of water by 1°C. The color of light varies The concept of energy is rather difficult to explain with the temperature of the metal.15 J. gas. With the use of a spectroscope. Daniel Bernoulli frequencies of electromagnetic radiation that are invisible was one of the first scientists to show. based emits very little of bluish light only. In 1842. William ysis was soon utilized to discover new elements. More specifi. however. discovered in the 1860s by two German scientists Robert tion of energy. the German pass an electric current through a good vacuum.1 Cathode Rays Faraday’s electrolysis experiments demonstrated the existence of ions. In the 1840s. the gas becomes very hot and gas is dependent on the temperature. tion emitted is in the infrared range of the spectrum. that are not associated with atoms or molecules. charged atoms.

Lorentz pro- posed that microscopic particles. called electron theory.2 X-Rays fields. electrons are brought to rest (accelerated) and the Plucker developed a glass tube with two electrodes kinetic energy of the electrons is converted to electro- with very good vacuum (known as Geissler tubes). magnetic waves. nocyanide) to glow. In 1911. or cath- ode rays. the German glassblower Johann Heinrich approach the positive charge in the nucleus of glass Wilhelm Geissler and the German physicist Julius atoms. when the German physicist Max von Laue. As a particles) strike the atoms of a glass vacuum tube. but instead have value for the e/m ratio of cathode rays. The ratio turned the wave-like characteristics of an electromagnetic radi. The German physicist Eugen Goldstein. penetrating radiation. the British physicist Joseph John Thompson tals as a type of three-dimensional grating. the French physicist Jean-Baptiste Perrin while investigating the effects of cathode rays in a demonstrated that cathode rays. or be generated.5. Based on the and physicists started to discuss what these mysterious Zeeman effect. the less penetrating beam L x-rays. Pieter Zeeman observed such a broadening of the rays and (2) not prone to deflection by a magnetic field spectral lines by the magnetic field. More specifically. x-rays of higher energies can anode. hydrogen ion. that when the glass tube near the cathode. Barkla noticed that each metal produced x-rays of a par- something from cathode appeared to be moving straight ticular wavelength. discovered confirmed Perrin’s observations and obtained a precise that x-rays do not behave like particles. the British physicist Charles the kind of metal used to make the cathode. called characteristic x-rays of a par- and hitting the glass before being collected by the ticular metal and called the more penetrating beam K anode. In 1895. and developed a new theory. subsequently. x-rays emitted by metals are due to the deexcitation of ever. Lorentz and Zeeman were. it was realized and there by the frequencies of the light emitted. a greenish luminescence appeared on (breaking radiation). refined Hittorf and Crookes vacuum tubes ultimately led to the Maxwell’s equations. It was soon realized denser more massive atoms in a metal are used to stop that the position of the glow does not depend on the the accelerated electrons. maintained that the glow is associated with the electrons in the atomic shells. As the fast moving cathode rays cathode rays could be deflected by both magnetic and . Lorentz deduced a value for the charge-to-mass observed that when cathode rays (negatively charged ratio (e/m) for charged particles inside the atom. are negatively charged particles. Radiation produced under these cir- When the electrodes were connected to a source of cumstances is been given the name bremsstrahlung electric current. Soon thereafter.2. suggested that objects placed in front of a cathode cast Subsequently. Instead. Thompson also demonstrated that the magnetic waves. which he called x-rays. emitted from the cath- discharge tube.5 Major Discoveries 17 In 1858. He also proposed that oscillations of these charged particles inside the atoms are the source of light. The Following the discovery of cathode rays and radiowaves. the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen. out to be over a thousand times greater than that of a ation. The German physicist Johann Wilhelm Hittorf x-rays and. investigations on the nature of cathode rays with the the Dutch physicist Hendrick Antoon Lorentz. discovery of x-rays and electron. It was also discovered. In that x-rays are (1) more penetrating than the cathode 1896. In 1897. x-rays might be. current itself and in 1876 introduced a name for this mysterious phenomenon: Cathodenstrahlen.3 Electron clearly moved in straight lines and which were better than the cathode rays produced in Geissler tubes. each of which carrying electric charge must be contained in all atoms and that these charged particles generate electric and magnetic 2. able to estimate the e/m ratio and predict that the charge The true nature of x-rays was discovered in 1912 of the particles within the atom is negative.5. An accelerated electric charge will radiate electro. accidentally discovered a new form of ode of a discharge tube. it was discovered that these characteristic shadows. how. the nature of the gas molecules in the tube. using crys. a magnetic field would affect the electron oscillations. they result of Lorentz’s electron theory it was presumed that produce penetrating rays that cause salt (barium plati. In 1895. He In 1896. In 1878 the British physicist William Crookes devised vacuum tubes that produced cathode rays which 2.

energy photons. the profile of radiation emitted shows some intense radiation. Since the weather was cloudy. However. the minimum French chemist. professor of physics at the Ecole also emit positively charged electrons or positrons. the name first suggested by Johnstone G. For a few years. he ever. it should also emit radiations leaving the crystals on the cabinet. He also discovered that the b -rays.5 Light Quantum stances emitted x-rays. while investigating the leagues identified three different components in the radi- interaction of cathode rays with thin metal plates dis. Paul Villard discovered an extremely electric charge that could be carried by a particle and penetrating form of radiation coming from radioactive found that if this charge were carried by an electron. then these rays might penetrate the dark paper and material body known as the black body. and finally does the intensity of radiation drop gradually as the . Becquerel absorb all radiations incident on it. These crystals were spectrum has no maximum and goes to infinite inten- placed next to a photographic plate wrapped in dark sity.4 Radioactivity tion of elements and emission of energy. He quickly initiated a series of experiments testing whether fluorescent sub. paper. Polytechnique in Paris heard about the discovery of x-rays and immediately thought of a possible connection between x-rays and fluorescence. of all frequencies. when he developed the plates. In 1903. a-rays. other new radioactive phe- 1911. since it placed the unwrapped plates in the drawer of a cabinet can absorb all radiations. is one that can darken the plate. as the temperature is increased. responsible for the emission of light by the atom. If sunlight causes the crystals to emit penetrating This effect is called ultraviolet catastrophae. They proposed a disintegration theory. An ideal rays. it was Ernest Rutherford at the would have to be only 1/1. the American physicist Robert Andrews Milikan nomena were discovered. and is based on the light tivity. was later Soddy sought to explain the cause and nature of radioac- explained by Albert Einstein. He also discovered that cathode rays are exposed the photographic plate. The question is why net and the dark paper covering the plate. ations from radioactive elements based on their behavior covered that electrons are ejected when ultraviolet in electric and magnetic fields. That year. known as the photoelectric effect. these components were eventually emission of electrons is dependent the frequency of identified as being helium nuclei. it sources. in the 1930s it was discovered that radioactive elements can Henry Becquerel. defined radioactivity as a change of one chemical ele- ment into another with the emission of alpha or beta par- ticles. In February 1986. which quantum hypothesis proposed by Max Plank. light strikes metal surfaces. In In the following years. however. and high- light but not on the intensity of light. due to exposure to incandescence.5. He called them. Thompson’s measurement of an elec. these negatively charged particles. It it. the Curies coined the name radio- tron’s mass and charge confirmed that cathode rays activity to describe the phenomenon of penetrating radia- (electrons) are the same particles within the atom also tion emitted by uranium and thorium. Rutherford and his col- In 1899. he was explor- ing the possibility that sunlight might cause crystals to The classical theory of matter assumes that matter in emit penetrating rays like the x-rays. at shorter wavelengths (or higher frequencies. 2.18 2 Science of Atomism: A Brief History electric fields. indicated that when a piece of metal is heated to found intense darkening of the plate. As luck would have general can absorb or emit any quantity of energy. such rays. in 1900. role in the study of radioactivity. how- a couple of days later. Rutherford and non. Philipp Lenard. electrons. Therefore. This phenome. Much to his surprise. Becquerel quickly concluded that the maximum (peak) shifts to shorter wavelengths that invisible rays from uranium had penetrated the cabi. in 1900 the succeeded in measuring quite accurately. he used uranium – potassium bisulfate (uranium salts also predicts that the radiation profile of the emission were known to be phosphorescent). Maria Sklodowska Curie and Pierre electrons. The experimental evidence.837 as massive as a hydro. respectively. He later changed the name and called them nique. For example. Cavendish Laboratory in England who played a major gen atom. Curie discovered that the element thorium also emitted Stoney in 1894. In 1898. and g -rays.5. An unstable element reaches stability spontaneously by undergoing radioactive decay involving transmuta- 2. which he initially called rays were known as “Becquerel rays” or rayons ura- corpuscles.

In 1920s Rutherford speculated that a neutral constant temperature. the nucleus of a hydro- of pollen particles in a liquid. The current experimental value of 6. In 1910 esis. The tence of atoms. The first experimental proof of physicist Max Planck’s postulated that the energy of this theory was provided by Jean Baptiste Jean Perrin in radiation can be absorbed or emitted by bodies only in France around 1908. is occupies 22. 2.8 × 1023. More specifically. Robert Brown observed the random movement of an electron. compact. Heisenberg soon proposed that phenomenon was developed by Einstein. A mathematical theory of this Chadwick. Incidentally. This phenomenon. the nucleus accounts for the total mass of the atom. Loschmidt found the number of atoms diffuse cloud of relatively light. The energy (E) of each mately 6. various discoveries have shown that the chemical substance. ticles to the shocks produced by the atoms and molecules Such a neutral particle was discovered by James of the liquid themselves. they are in perpetual movement ficient to exactly balance the number of positive pro- even under conditions of perfect external equilibrium or tons. but is century. Boyle had attempted to estimate the size of really composed of parts. the number of orbiting electrons is suf- a liquid are never at rest. h (known as Plank’s constant). The work of Einstein and Perrin quantum is a product of the frequency of radiation (n) provided some of the first concrete evidence for the exis- and a constant.6.6 Reality of Atoms 2. in fact. Perrin deter- specific packets or amounts and called of these small mined that the number of atoms in one mole is approxi- packets of energy a quantum. In the electrically as Brownian motion.2. and a nuclei of different elements consist of protons and neu- theoretical estimate of Avogadro’s number was given to trons which are held together by strong exchange . in 1905. 2. Rutherford named this positively charged parti- cle in the nucleus.2) presented a model of an atomic accurately determined in 1860 by the Italian chemist structure.4 l at STP. which is the number of positive somewhere around 2.2 Brownian Motion A proton has an electrical charge exactly equal to that of an electron. Since one mole of any gas sequence of elements in the periodic table is. Moseley formulated the property of ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure.6 × 1019 atoms cc−1 (this known as charges in the nucleus. in 1932. or nucleus. 1415 × 1023 atoms per mol is the average for measure- ments using the best methods. 2. under electrons.8 × 1023 atoms. the German be 6. The discovery of radioactiv- atoms. new Kinetic Molecular Theory. proton (from the Greek word first).2 × 1023 particles. their atomic numbers and not their atomic weight. but positive. known gen atom is known as the proton. developed by Maxwell positively charged core. the atomic weights of several gaseous elements were Rutherford (Fig.626 × 10−34 Js.7 Atomic Structure 2. the interaction of electricity with matter.1 Nuclear Atom Avogadro’s number is the calculated value of the num- ber of atoms (or molecules) in a gram mole of any Since 1890. Moseley showed that the Loschmidt’s Constant).6. to be atomic number (Z). The only irrefutable explanation particle (one that is the same size as a proton) within for this phenomenon ascribes the movements of the par.022 value of h was determined to be 6. it was not until 1865 that the first successful ity. and a mass 1836 times that In 1827.7. In 1913. Based on Avogadro’s hypoth- discovery of the subatomic structure of atoms. In 1914. states that microscopic particles in neutral atom. Subsequently. known as nuclear atom. the number of atoms in one mole a sequence of elements that are arranged in order of is approximately equal to 5. surrounded by a and Clausius. According to this Stanislao Cannizzaro.7 Atomic Structure 19 frequency of radiation increases? In 1901. and the attempt was made by the Austrian physicist and school discovery of free electrons have all contributed to the teacher Josef Loschmidt.1 Avogadro’s Number 2. Although as early as the seventeenth atom is not indivisible (as Dalton supposed). atoms consist of a massive. using the nuclear model. in 1865. negatively charged in one cubic centimeter of gaseous substance.

have the same atomic weight or atomic mass. the whole atom is electri- nucleus in an atom can be described based on the four cally neutral.11%) nuclides or isotopes.89%) and 13C (1. Based on Rutherford’s discovery of atomic nucleus and Plank’s discovery of energy quantum (E = hn). Arnold Sommerfeld suggested that the natural carbon is 12. A more detailed example of elec- with the cloud of electrons is significantly much larger tron orbits based on quantum mechanics is provided compared to the volume of the nucleus (10−13 cm diam- in Chapter 7.4 in Chap. which is very close to the atomic occurs only when an electron moves from one orbital to weight of an element. The total number of The electron in general exists in a low energy orbit protons and neutrons within the nucleus is called the (ground state). Subsequently. each electron carrying a single duced the spin quantum number (s) to the represent negative charge equal but opposite to that of a proton in the direction of the electron spin (clockwise or anti- the nucleus. When atoms are 2. 3. eter).2 Ernest Rutherford. which assumes the circular and elliptical orbits are in a single plane. Wolfgang Pauli intro- small size and mass. degrees. To account for The atom consists of an extremely dense.20 2 Science of Atomism: A Brief History Fig.7. an English physicist and the winner of the Nobel prize in chemistry.2) developed the first quantum model of an atom (Fig. The gain or loss of a quantum of energy mass number (A). .2 Bohr’s Model of Atom in a magnetic field. a Danish Physicist and the winner of Nobel prize in physics forces known as nuclear forces. 3). Neils Bohr (Fig. The arrangement of electrons around the tons. Because the number of electrons and pro- clockwise).011 since it is a mixture of 12C electron orbits can also be elliptical. and at different (98. a magnetic quantum number (m) charged nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons with was introduced. low positively this magnetic effect. By 1914. The atomic volume (10−8 cm diameter) quantum numbers. atomic mass units (AMU or u). an atom are the same. the orbits may be tipped and can be best represented in a three dimensional spherical space around the nucleus. The mass number (A) of 12C one of greater or lesser energy.7. According to 2. As a result an atom can nuclide is 12 and its atomic mass is considered as 12 absorb or emit energy in discrete units or quanta. The atomic weight of In 1916. Niels Henrik David Bohr. however. an electron in a hydrogen atom rotates around the nucleus at high speeds in closed circular orbits Dalton assumed that all the atoms of a given element associated with a characteristic quantum number (n). 2.3 Isotopes this model. 2. in 1913. the orbital quantum number (l) was introduced. Subsequently.

011. while the circumference of a or antielectrons. Schrodinger’s famous wave equation cancel and the pair annihilates. Further. composed of antiparticles (such as antielectron and Louis deBroglie. and z) of the electron’s position in three dimen. a physicist at Cambridge. Atoms the average atomic mass of carbon is 12. where antimatter is quantum mechanics developed by Werner Heisenberg. and (radioactive). A specific wave function to represent atoms of an element that have different for a given electron is often called an orbital. F. antimatter is an extension of the model needed refinement. this theory not only electron bound to the nucleus is similar to a stand. In 1928. by the mid 1920s. Also. The theory also sional space and H represents a set of mathematical predicted that high-energy photons can rematerialize instructions called an operator. as well. According to this model.4 Quantum Atom 2. still can be placed in the same place in the orbital. with the combined (Hy = Ey) describes an electron in an atom. described electrons but the particles we call positrons ing or stationary wave. and Bi have no isotopes. atom. In a given atom. me. In 1947. is not a Bohr’s orbit. antiproton) in the same way that normal matter is com- vided a wave or quantum mechanical description of an posed of particles (electrons and protons). the orbitals dif- periodic table. which can also For any given element. the isotopic abundance of 12C is of electrons around the nucleus in an atom – deter- 98.7. since it has in order to fill their shells. The wave function corresponding Na. many solutions are found. it became clear that Bohr’s In particle physics. When this equation is as matter and antimatter in a process known as the pair . not the electron’s motion around the nucleus.9% while the abundance of 13C is very small – only mines most of the atom’s physical and chemical prop- 1.7 Atomic Structure 21 it was realized that atoms of the same element can vary analyzed. the two charges wavelengths. determine the chemical properties of an atom. of an element. Dirac’s theory predicted that particular orbit corresponds to a whole number of when an electron encounters a positron. 63Cu (69. atoms always seek to exist in the lowest energy state possible. and electromagnetic radiation) as acting both as a combined relativity and quantum mechanics in order particle and as a wave.that is the arrangement forms (12C and 13C). where y mass transforming into high-radiation (annihilation called the wave function. Since the atomic mass of an element is expressed erties. ms). This is called Pauli Exclusion Principle. This characteristic is called to derive an equation that provides a complete descrip- wave-particle duality. Natural carbon exists in two stable isotopic The atom’s electron cloud. the percentage of each isotope be stated as follows: An orbital can hold only two found in nature is called the isotope’s isotopic abun. no stable isotope exists for these elements. An isotope can be stable or unstable fer from each other in size.7. The wave mechanics or concept of antiparticle to matter. l. and Edwin Schrodinger finally pro. is a function of the coordinates photons (511 KeV) in the most dramatic expression of (x. Surprisingly.8%).2. The electrons in the outermost shell. but may have the same chemical properties. the American chemist Truman Paul Kohman each electron in an atom has a unique set of quantum suggested that the word nuclide is a more appropriate numbers. but unstable. Al. It requires less energy to two stable isotopes. An weights but. in particular. E. exist in this bonded state. no two electrons can have term to represent both the stable and unstable atoms the same set of four quantum numbers (n. Some of the elements in nature such as magnetic properties. the tion of the electron. y. Einstein’s celebrated equation E = mc2. Quantum mechanics only provides the proba- stable isotope. Quantum theory describes matter (electrons Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac.545.5 Discovery of Antimatter At first Bohr’s model appeared to be very promising but. as an average of all of the naturally occurring isotopes. however.1%. all elements heavier than Bi are bility of an electron’s position around the nucleus. angular momentum. (or radionuclide). consists of a wave function y that is characterized by a The word isotope was coined by Frederick Soddy particular value of energy. and they must have opposite spins. dance. while 81 of the to the lowest energy of hydrogen atom is called 1 s elements listed in the periodic table have at least one orbital. Each solution in weight. electrons.2%) and 65Cu (30. Similarly bond with other atoms by donating or sharing electrons the average atomic mass of copper is 63. 2.

There More specifically. positrons were first discovered by The nobel laureates Murray Gell-Mann and George Carl D. tron (e−) and an electron antineutrino (νe). the positron was discovered by are six flavors of quarks. This resulted in the artificial pro.5–3. In particle physics. it is not made up of smaller particles.5 billion eV) gener. This process occurs when one of the down trons were the smallest objects into which matter could be quarks in the neutron (udd) decays into an up quark by divided and these objects were termed elementary par. n0) 0 939. the elemen- associated with fundamental forces are bosons. it seemed that protons. but because they combine in groups stable silicon by emitting positrons. β+) 1 0. Subsequently in 1955. Anderson.272 1. Zweig first proposed the quark model. Curie. mally associated with matter are ferminons while particles Because quarks cannot exist independently. the three positively charged passing cosmic rays through a cloud chamber.511 9. which quickly decayed to fractional charge. emitting a W− boson. a neutron “splits” into a proton. an proton (uud). that is. neutrons. hn) 0 0 0 – 1 Stable Electron (e−. who gave the positron its name. Anderson. billions of years ago. In 1932.511 9.1 Physical properties of elementary particlesa Mass Charge Particle Charge (MeV/c2) Mass (Kg) radius (m) Spin Mean life-time Photon (γ.109 × 10−31 – 1/2 Stable by itself Up Quark (u) +2/3 e 1. Charm and Top) 1934. It is the combination of ite objects and made from quarks. mary building blocks of matter. and an anti- In the 1930s.8 The Elementary Particles example. The W− boson then decays into an elec- elementary particle is a particle without a substructure. in 1964.7 s a The above values are from Wikipedia . in California. Dirac. and electrons. Irène Curie and Frédéric Joliot confirmed the and the three negatively charged quarks are called existence of the positron by bombarding aluminum down-type quarks (down.0 – 10−18 1/2 Decays to u Proton or uud (p+ or H+) 1 938. of three. All elemen. and Joliot all received Nobel prizes for their Individuals quarks are never found in nature. with alpha particles.674 × 10−27 <10−15 1/2 885. particles nor. quarks pioneering discoveries. Individuals quarks are the only known carriers of duction of radionuclide 30P. Quarks are the fundamental constituents of protons Among the bosons. only an integer charge is observed in nature. For 2.1). transforming the neutron into a ticles or fundamental particles. only the photon is the most realistic and neutrons and interact via the strong nuclear forces. hadrons are compos. The other more mas- sive quarks produced in particle accelerators and cosmic rays are unstable and rapidly decay. Table 2.672 × 10−27 <10−15 1/2 >2. an electron. they are ated in a Bevatron accelerator at the Lawrence Berkeley found in protons and neutrons and are one of the pri- Radiation Laboratory. The up quark and the down quark are generally ton using high energy protons (6. and elec. Emilio always bind together to form composite particles – the Segre and Owen Chamberlain discovered the antipro.109 × 10−31 – 1/2 Stable Positron (e+.22 2 Science of Atomism: A Brief History production. in the radioactive beta decay process. mation of chemical elements. block of all matter in the universe is no longer valid. Strange and Bottom). hadrons. tons.565 1. while leptons appear to the three subatomic particles that resulted in the for- be structureless. The notion that the atom is the ultimate building tary particles are either bosons or ferminons. In quarks are called up-type quarks (Up. β−) −1 0. neutrino. Bosons tary particles in nature representing fermions are pro- are divided into hadrons and leptons. elementary energy particle (Table 2. neutrons.3 – 10−18 1/2 Stable Down Quark (d) −1/3 e 3.1 × 1029 year Neutron or ddu (n.5–6. stable and are very common in the universe.

New York their discoveries. The science and the life of Albert Einstein. Pais A (1991) Niels Bohr’s times.Additional Reading 23 Additional Reading Pais A (1982) Subtle is the Lord. therapeutic nuclear medicine today. Freeman. New York Limouris GS (2006) From the atomism of Democritus to the Segrè E (1984) From falling bodies to radiowaves. New York polity. philosophy and Truman Tally Books. Segrè E (1980) From x-rays to quarks. in physics. Journey across the subatomic cosmos. New Imaging 33:s65–s68 York . Freeman. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Classical physicists and their discoveries. Modern physicists and Dover. Clarendon. Clarendon. Oxford Gamow G (1961) The great physicists from Galileo to Einstein. Oxford Asimov I (1992) Atom.

com/978-3-540-76735-0 .http://www.springer.