Flash of the Cathode Rays: A History of J J Thomson's Electron

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CRC Press, Jan 1, 1997 - Science - 526 pages
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The electron is fundamental to almost all aspects of modern life, controlling the behavior of atoms and how they bind together to form gases, liquids, and solids. Flash of the Cathode Rays: A History of J.J. Thomson's Electron presents the compelling story of the discovery of the electron and its role as the first subatomic particle in nature. The book traces the evolution of the concept of electrical charge, from the earliest glow discharge studies to the final cathode ray and oil drop experiments of J.J. Thomson and Robert Millikan. It also provides an overview of the history of modern physics up to the advent of the old quantum theory around 1920.

Consolidating scholarly material while incorporating new material discovered by the well-respected author, the book covers the continental and English race for the source of the cathode rays, culminating in Thomson's corpuscle in 1897. It explores the events leading to Millikan's unambiguous isolation of the electron and the simultaneous circumstances surrounding the birth of Ernest Rutherford's nuclear atom and the discovery of radioactivity in 1896. The author also focuses on the controversies over N-rays, Becquerel's positive electron, and the famous Ehrenhaft-Millikan dispute over subelectrons.

Scholarly yet accessible to those with basic physics knowledge, this book should be of interest to historians of science, professional scientists and engineers, teachers and students of physics, and general readers interested in the development of modern physics.
  

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Contents

ELECTROMAGNETIC PHENOMENA UNRAVELED
20
CATHODE RAYS TAKE CENTER STAGE
37
THE ENGLISH GET GOING
58
MEANWHILE BACK IN BERLIN
78
THE ENGLISH KEEP GOING
92
FROM PARIS TO THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
110
FROM LIVERPOOL TO PRINCETON
129
THE RACE FOR em
150
LEIDEN 1896
190
THE PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT REVISITED
212
THE3PARTICLE
221
A FRENCH COTTAGE INDUSTRY
242
POSITIVE RAYS
265
THE ELECTRONIC CHARGE REVISITED AND
293
DAWNING OF THE ATOMIC AGE
321
Copyright

THE CHARGE AND THE MASS
175

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