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Experiences That Led To Interest In Studying The Atom

Thomson was always interested in science. In school, he studied math, physics,
and engineering. After school, Thomson planned to become an apprentice
engineer. However, when his father passed away, his family could no longer
afford his apprenticeship. As a result, Thomson set out to get a scholarship to
further his education. He won a scholarship and attended the University of
Cambridge to study math which wound up changing the path of his career from an engineer
to a physicist researching and writing about the atom. Thomson’s traumatic
experience ended up greatly impacting science today.

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Work On The Atom And Its Contribution To The Modern Atomic Model

work was very important in influencing the modern atomic model. His famous
cathode ray tube experiment led to the discovery of subatomic particles within
atoms (electrons). This discovery is an essential part of our modern atomic
model. Thomson also discovered that inside atoms there are positive and
negative charges. His plum pudding model of the atom showed positive and
negative charges, making him the first to think this. His brilliant experiments
ended up winning him a Nobel Prize in 1906, proving the importance of his work.
On top of this, these contributions to our knowledge of atoms are in our atomic
model today!

Contributions In The Current Model And Those That Were Disproved

Thomson made many important discoveries about the atom, some of which were kept
in the atomic model and some of which were eventually disproved. First of all,
he was the first person to find out that atoms are composed of subatomic
particles. While conducting his cathode ray tube experiment he discovered
electrons. He also designed his own atomic model called the plum-pudding model.
This model was eventually disproved by his former student Ernest Rutherford
with his gold foil experiment. The gold foil experiment proved that the atom is
mostly empty space with a positively charged nucleus in the middle, as opposed
to Thomson’s model that was completely full with positive and negative charges
scattered throughout. However, Thomson’s plum-pudding model still had some
correctness to it. His plum pudding model included positive and negative
charges, which are both present in our modern atomic model.


1.”J.J. Thomson – Biographical.” Nobel Media AB 2014.
Web. 15 Jan 2018.

2. “J. J.
Thomson.” Famous Scientists. 27 Jul. 2015. Web.

3. DeWitt, Tyler. “Cathode Ray Tube


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