The history behind the atom

Atomism The idea that matter is made up of discrete units is a very old idea, appearing in many ancient cultures such as Greece and India.

The history behind the atom

Atomic Number The radiations produced by uranium and thorium were quite feeble, and difficult to work with. This situation was corrected by Mme.

The history behind the atom

Investigating the radioactivity of uranium minerals, she found some samples of ore of low uranium content that were nevertheless intensely radioactive - more so than if they had been pure uranium. She reached the conclusion that the ore must contain some element other than uranium that was radioactive.

Since she knew all the components of the ore that were present in significant amounts, and since all were known to be non-radioactive, the unknown element could be present only in very small quantities and must be extremely radioactive indeed.

Duringshe and her husband slaved away over quantities of ore, trying to concentrate the radioactivity and isolate the new element. In July, one new element was located and named polonium, after Mme. Curie's native Poland, and, in December, a second new element, radium.

Radium was extremely radioactive, giving off radiations intimes the quantity that the same weight of uranium did. Furthermore, it was very rare.

The history behind the atom

Other strongly radioactive elements were discovered in tiny traces. Inthe French chemist Andre Louis Debierne discovered actinium. Inthe German physicist Friedrich Ernst Dorn found a radioactive gas which eventually received the name radon.

It was one of the inert gases, fitting below xenon in the periodic table. Finally, inthe German chemist Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner discovered protactinium. Experimenters could use these rare but extremely radioactive elements in "particle guns". Lead absorbs the radiation. If a bit of material containing one of these elements is placed in a lead-lined box with a hole in it, almost all the particles that come flying off are absorbed by the lead.

Some, however, make their way through the hole to compose a tin stream of very many, very energetic particles which can be directed at some target. It was Rutherford who used such "particle guns" most effectively. Beginning inhe bombarded thin sheets of metal such as gold with speeding alpha particles.

Most of the alpha particles passed clear through, unaffected and undiverted, recording themselves on the photographic plate behind. There were, however, some particles that were scattered - even through large angles.

Since the gold foil that served as target was two thousand atoms thick, and since most alpha particles passed through untouched, it would seem that the atoms were mostly empty space. Since some alpha particles were deflected sharply, it meant that somewhere in the atom must be a massive, positively charged region, capable of turning back the positively charged alpha particle.

Rutherford therefore evolved the theory of the nuclear atom. The atom, he decided, contains a very tiny nucleus at its center, which is positively charged and which contains all the the protons and, it was later discovered, the neutrons, too of the atom.

The atomic nucleus has to be very tiny in order to account for the very small fraction of the alpha particles that were deflected, but it must also contain virtually all the mass of the atom.The number of protons determines which chemical element the atom is (e.g.

uranium), and the number of neutrons determines which isotope of that element the atom is (e.g. uranium). Isotope: Isotopes of an element possess the same number of protons in their nuclei but have different numbers of neutrons.

From the planets to the stars to the edge of the unknown, history and science collide in the popular series THE UNIVERSE.

During World War II, American physicists and engineers began a race against Nazi Germany to develop the first atomic bomb. Their secret endeavor, which lasted from to , was known as the Manhattan Project. The project led to the invention of nuclear weapons, including two that were dropped.

So we know that all matter is made up of atoms, but what is an atom made out of?

The Manhattan Project

Chemists describe the structure of atoms using models. This section will cover the Bohr model, photoelectric effect, absorption and emission spectra, quantum numbers, and electron configurations.

A brief history of Atoms We currently believe that the atom is the basic unit of matter which consists of a dense nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons.

The nucleus contains a mix of positively. History of the Atom.

Find out more about the history of Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including videos, interesting articles, pictures, historical features and more. Get all the facts on In , J.J. Thomson discovered the electron and suggested the 'plum pudding' model of the atom. In , Rutherford suggested that electrons orbit the atomic nucleus like planets round the Sun. In , Bohr modified Rutherford's model by introducing the idea of energy levels. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. This means you're free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

Introduction Our understanding of the physical world has grown at an incredible rate in the last years. The key to the advances made in chemistry has been our growing knowledge about atoms.

In this unit we will look at some of the early historical discoveries that helped us build up a useful 'working model' of the atom.

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