Physics

Discovery of Electrons



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To find out the discovery of electrons we have to travel all the way back to 1898. Back then, scientists were working with electricity, even though they did not understand that electric currents were made up of electrons. The cathode tube was a point in reference, as scientists switched on the voltage, they actually made streams of electricity (which happened to be fluorescent) travel from the bottom of a glass tube to the top.

This was all well and good, but they could not figure out how it worked. Some scientists thought the waves were streams of particles, whilst other scientists thought that the waves travelled through a kind of 'ether' which was mysterious to them. J.J. Thomson happened to be a physics’ professor at Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom. He was determined to find out how the voltage worked so, with that in mind, he placed cathode tubes in magnetic and electric fields.

He already knew that these fields would move particles from side to side, but did not affect much how a wave moves. During his experiments, the cathode rays would bend over to the side, Thomson then knew that the cathode rays must be made up of some kind of small particle - he nicknamed this particle a 'corpuscle'.

However, once this discovery was made, Thomson thought that his corpuscles would be of no interest (other then to the people who worked in the lab) to the outside world, because they were too small. But soon people realized that electric currents were made of moving electrons. Because electricity is the lifeblood, and the very life-force of life on earth - as well as the force that created phones, computers, televisions, electronic watches, microwaves and such like, everybody held an interest in the electron.

The discovery of the electron, thanks to J.J. Thomson, brought about the following inventions above, and it has to be said, that if it had not been for his perseverance, where would the world be now? Just imagine a world without computers, microwave ovens, televisions, computer terminals, computer games, digital radios, electronic watches, and every other invention that is run by electricity. Then man would not have been able to go to the moon, the space agency NASA would not exist, and a plethora of organisations and businesses that are around now, simply would not have come into existence.

And all this was due to one man, J.J. Thomson. The discovery of the electron was the greatest find yet, and on par with the discovery of fire. It moved the world forward in ways that would be unimagined to people back in 1898. If it were not for J.J. Thomson, then the world would still be in the 'dark ages' and would not have advanced as quickly as it has done.


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