Notes on Recent Researches in Electricity and Magnetism: Intended as a Sequel to Professor Clerk-Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
This 1893 publication is a central text in the work of the Nobel prize winning physicist Sir Joseph John Thomson (1858-1940). Intended as an extension of James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, it documents the important shift in Thomson's thinking towards the model of the atomic electric field, a theory that would eventually lead to his discovery of the electron. In Chapter 1, Thomson documents his experiments with Faraday tubes, using them to physically demonstrate a 'molecular theory of electricity'. Chapter 2 considers the discharge of electricity through gases, Chapter 3 theories of electrostatics, and Chapters 4-6 are primarily concerned with alternating currents. In addition to providing crucial insight into Thomson's evolving theory of the atom, Recent Researches underscores his commitment to experimental physics, which offers 'all the advantages in vividness which arise from concrete qualities rather than abstract symbols'.
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Page 332 - The discharge, whatever may be its nature, is not correctly represented (employing for simplicity the theory of Franklin) by the single transfer of an imponderable fluid from one side of the jar to the other; the phenomena...
Page 332 - This anomaly which has remained so long unexplained, and which at first sight appears at variance with all our theoretical ideas of the connection of electricity and magnetism, was after considerable study satisfactorily referred by the author to an action of the discharge of the Leyden jar which had never before been recognized. The discharge, whatever may be its nature, is not correctly represented (employing for simplicity the theory of Franklin) by the single transfer of an imponderable fluid...
Page v - Professor of Experimental Physics." JJ intended that his second book, Notes on Recent Researches in Electricity and Magnetism, serve as a sequel to Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. "I have endeavoured," he wrote, "to give an account of some recent electrical researches, experimental as well as theoretical, in the hope that it may assist students to gain some acquaintance with the recent progress of Electricity and yet retain Maxwell's Treatise as the source from which they learn the...
Page 189 - Thus, according to the view we are now discussing, chemical decomposition is not to be considered merely as an accidental attendant on the electrical discharge, but as an essential feature of the discharge, without which it could not occur.
Page 332 - Franklin) by the single transfer of an imponderable fluid from one side of the jar to the other ; the phenomena require us to admit the existence of a principal discharge in one direction, and then several reflex actions backward and forward, each more feeble than the preceding, until equilibrium is obtained. All the facts are shown to be in accordance with this hypothesis, and a ready explanation is afforded by it of a number of phenomena which are found in the older works on electricity, but which...
Page 105 - ... discharge passes through the bulb, while when the magnet is on no discharge at all can be detected. The action is very striking, and the explanation of it which seems to fit in best with the phenomena I have observed is that the discharge through the rarefied gas does not rise to its full intensity suddenly, but as it were feels its way. The gas first breaks down along the line where the electromotive intensity is a maximum, and a small discharge takes place along this line. This discharge produces...
Page 449 - The scattered light produced by the incidence of a plane polarized wave vanishes in the plane through the centre at right angles to the magnetic induction in the incident wave along a line making an angle of 120° with the radius to the point at which the wave first strikes the sphere and it does not vanish in any direction other than this. Thus, if non-polarized waves of light or of electric...
Page 106 - B. acting on the secondary can be so adjusted that no discharge passes round the tube ABCD when the magnet is off, whilst a bright discharge occurs as long as the magnet is on. The two effects of the magnet on the discharge, viz, the stoppage of the discharge across the lines of magnetic force, and its acceleration along them...
Page vi - Bacon's dictum that the best results are obtained when a research begins with Physics and ends with Mathematics ... The use of a physical theory will help to correct the tendency - which I think all will admit is by no means uncommon - to look on analytical processes as the modern equivalent of the Philosopher's Machine in the Grand Academy of Lagado, and to regard as the normal process of investigation in this subject the manipulation of a large number of symbols in the hope that every now and then...