Chapter 12: Atoms

What is the structure of an atom?


By the nineteenth century, enough evidence had accumulated in favour of atomic hypothesis of matter. In 1897, the experiments on electric discharge through gases carried out by the English physicist J. J. Thomson (1856 –
1940) revealed that atoms of different elements contain negatively charged constituents (electrons) that are identical for all atoms. However, atoms on a whole are electrically neutral. Therefore, an atom must also contain some positive charge to neutralise the negative charge of the electrons. What then, is the arrangement of the positive charge and the electrons inside the atom?


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