the history of the atom
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THE HISTORY OF THE ATOM. Greek Philosophers (400 B.C.). Aristotle- believed the everything was made of the 4 elements (air, fire, water, and land). Each substance contained a varying portion of each element.

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greek philosophers 400 b c
Greek Philosophers (400 B.C.)
  • Aristotle- believed the everything was made of the 4 elements (air, fire, water, and land). Each substance contained a varying portion of each element.
  • Democritus-believed everything was made of invisible and indivisible particles called “atomus” = ATOMS
ben franklin 1748
Ben Franklin -1748

Determined there were positive and negative charges in nature.

antoine lavoisier 1790
Antoine Lavoisier-1790

Law of conservation of matter- matter isneither created nor destroyed in anyprocess (you did anexperiment with the test tube and the flask)

joseph louis proust 1799
Joseph Louis Proust - 1799

Law of constant composition - any sample of agiven compound always contains the samepercent of each element by mass.

john dalton 1803
John Dalton-1803

Created the Atomic Theory of Matter

Contains 4 postulate:

  • Each element is made of invisible and indivisible particles called atoms. (Democritus) wrong
  • All atoms of an element are identical. wrong
  • Atoms can not be created or destroyed in a reaction.


4. A given compound always has the same relative numbers and kinds of atoms. (Proust)

michael faraday 1839
Michael Faraday - 1839
  • Suggested there was a connection between the structure of the atom and electricity.
e goldstein 1886
E. Goldstein - 1886

Isolated the proton.

j j thomson 1896
J.J. Thomson - 1896

Isolated the electron. (cathode tube in the journal)

henri becquerel 1896
Henri Becquerel - 1896

Accidentally discovered that uranium gave off invisible rays. Photo plates were developed when put close to the sample of uranium. (journals)

marie and pierre curie 1898
Marie and Pierre Curie - 1898
  • Named Becquerel’s invisible rays “radiation”.
  • Isolated the radioactive elements polonium and radium.
ernest rutherford 1909
Ernest Rutherford - 1909
  • Isolated alpha and beta radiation.
  • Found all of the atom’s protons were in the center of the atom and called this the nucleus. (gold foil experiment in journal)
robert millikan 1909
Robert Millikan - 1909

Found the mass (grams) and the charge (columbs) of the electron. (Famous oil drop experiment done at he University of Chicago.)

niels bohr 1911
Niels Bohr - 1911

Proved electrons were in energy levels around the nucleus. (The current model changes part of Bohr’s idea.)

james chadwick 1932
James Chadwick - 1932

Found the nucleus of the atom also contained neutral particles; he called them neutrons.