The Mighty Atom and John Dalton


Courtney:

All things are made of atoms. They are everywhere and they constitute everything. Atoms are very abundant. They're fantastically durable and in every single cubic centimeter you see around you. Because they are so long lived, atoms really get around. Atoms practically go on forever. No scientist or human knows actually how long an atom can last. Martin Rees guessed about 10³⁵ years. But when we die, the atoms in our body will disassemble and move off to find new uses somewhere else.
Molecules are apart of atoms. It's the basic working arrangement of atoms. Molecule comes from the Latin language, meaning "little mass". They are two or more atoms working together in a less or more stable arrangement. For example, add two atoms of hydrogen to one of oxygen and you have a molecule of water. Chemists think in meanings of molecules rather than elements in a way that writers tend to think in meanings of words and not letters.
John Dalton when he was older.
John Dalton when he was older.

John Dalton was one of the scientists to help encourage the study of the atom. He was born in 1766 in Cockermouth near the Lake District to a pour but devout Quaker weavers. Dalton was a very smart student. At the age of 12, he was in charge of his local Quaker school. Because of his studies, John Dalton suffered from color blindness. Which most people called Daltonism for a long time. Dalton wrote a book called A New System of Chemical Philosophy, published in 1808, set his reputation. He quoted, "We might as well attempt to introduce a new planet in to the solar system or annihilate one already in existence, as to create or destroy a particle of hydrogen." Dalton was not always accurate with his work. He believed that water contained seven parts of oxygen to one of hydrogen, so he gave seven has oxygen's atomic number.
Eventually when Dalton pasted away in 1844, over 40,000 people viewed the man's coffin. The funeral cortege stretched for two miles. John Dalton was awarded with many medals, received a government pension, and elected to the Royal Society.



Rutherford and His Discoveries With Atoms

By Brock

Physicists are famous for scorning scientists from other fields. Rutherford once said,"All science is either physics or stamp collecting." The irony here is that he went on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, not physics, in 1908.
For all Rutherford's success, he was actually very terrible at mathematics. During lectures, he would get so confused with his equations that he would give up and would tell his students to figure it out themselves. He wasn't even that good at experimentation according to James Chadwick. However, he was always prepared to work longer and harder than most people and to be more open to unorthodox situations. Because of his hard work, he was one of the first to see that the power inside of an atom could, if properly used, make bombs powerful enough to make the world "vanish in smoke".
Ernest Rutherford, the physicist
Ernest Rutherford, the physicist
Rutherford was a very big and loud man. Once when he was making a radio broadcast, one of his students said,"Why use radio?" Rutherford once made the remark,"Every day I grow in girth. And in mentality." He had a lot of confidence.
By the beginning of the 1900's, it was known that atoms were made of parts. J.J. Thomson's discoveries of the electrons had proven that. However, they did not know how many sub-atomic particles actually made up the atoms. Physicists still debated on the physical shape of the atom. They thought it might be compacted into a cube to prevent wasting space.
In 1910, Rutherford and Hans Geiger (one of Rutherford's students), fired ionized helium atoms, or alpha particles, towards a sheet of gold foil. To their amazement, some of the particles bounced back.This was definitely not supposed to happen. According to Dalton,"It was if he had fired a fifteen-inch shell at a sheet of paper and it rebounded into his lap. There could only be one possible explanation: the particles that bounced back were striking something dense and small at the center of the atom, while the other particles went right through it. Rutherford came to realize that atoms had to be made of mostly empty space with a dense nucleus. However, this presented a huge problem. By the laws of conventional physics, atoms should not exist.



Figure 1: Rutherford's idea of an atom.
Figure 1: Rutherford's idea of an atom.
Different Theories from Different Physicists
By Patrick
Some of Rutherford’s findings presented immediate problems. One problem was no electron should be able to orbit a nucleus without crashing into the nucleus. The conventional electrodynamic theory said that a flying electron should run out of energy quickly and will crash into the nucleus. Another problem was how protons, with their positive charge, could bundle together inside the nucleus without destroying the atom. As physicists began to delve into this subatomic realm, they realized that it wasn’t anything we knew. “Because atomic behavior is so unlike ordinary experience,” Richard Feynman observed, “it is very difficult to get used to and it appears peculiar and mysterious to everyone, both to the novice and to the experienced physicist.”

Niels Bohr was one of the people working with Rutherford. Bohr’s idea was so exciting that he postponed his honeymoon to write the paper. It was called “On the Constitutions of Atoms and Molecules.” It explained how electrons could keep from flying into the nucleus by that they could occupy only certain well-defined orbits. According to the new theory, an electron moving between orbits would disappear from one and reappear instantaneously in another without visiting the space between. This was called the “Quantum Leap.” Bohr won the 1922 Nobel Prize in physics.
Rutherford then came out with a new model that explained why the nuclei didn’t blow up. He observed how they must be offset by some type of neutral particles. He called them neutrons. James Chadwick, an associate of Rutherford’s, devoted eleven years to discover neutrons before finally succeeding in 1932. He was also awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, in 1935. The neutron was essential to the development of the atomic bomb. Since neutrons have no charge, they aren’t repelled by the electrical fields at the heart of an atom and thus could be fired like tiny torpedoes into an atomic nucleus. This would set off the destructive process known as fission. It is very likely the atomic bomb would have been developed first in Europe, undoubtedly by the Germans.
Europeans had their hands full trying to understand the unusual behavior of the electron. The main problem they faced was that the electron sometimes behaved like a particle and sometimes like a wave. Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie found that certain anomalies in the behavior of electrons disappeared when one regarded them as waves. Erwin Schrödinger made some renovations to the observation and made a system called wave mechanics. German physicist Werner Heisenberg came up with a competing theory called matrix mechanics at the same time. A problem with this theory was that it was so complex that no one could understand it. Not even Heisenberg could understand it saying, “I do not even know what a matrix is.” But, it seemed to solve certain problems that Schrödinger waves failed to explain.
In 1926, Heisenberg finally came up with a compromise, producing a new discipline which came to be known as quantum mechanics. It was the “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.” It states the electron is particles but a particle that can be described in terms of waves. The uncertainty around the theory is built so that we can know the path an electron takes as it moves through a space or we can know where it is at a given instant, but we cannot know both. Any attempt to measure will unavoidably disturb the other.



Dakota:

Confusing Words From Physicist

Many people have had there theories about electrons but Dennis Overbye had to have had the most interesting theory. He once said "An electron does not exist until the point at which it is discovered." Others did not understand what he meant, he tried explaining further but sadly it did no good. Overbye also said "electrons are everywhere at once and nowhere at all.", Things were said, and people were confused but Neils Bohr once commented that "a person who wasn't outraged on first about quantum theory didn't understand what was being said". Others suggested it would be easier just to not try to comprehend. People didnt understand the concept of the atom and its structure, alot of people thought that the electron flew around the nucleus like a planet around the sun but others comfirmed that it was more like a cloud or a shell around it. During this period of time people were confused and in aw of the things that were being said around them, and most people were just plain outraged by these discoveries. Scientist compared these discoveries to things like traveling to new worlds, they even discovered a new world where matter pops into existence from nothing at all and where electrons change orbit without touching any intervening spaces.
There was another theory arising that subatomic particles in certain pairs can automatically know what the other is doing. Others discovered that when you determine the spin of a particle, the other particle that is in the pair (the sister particle)will immediately start spinning the opposite direction.It is kind of like they are sharing a brain, because if you interfere with one's rotation then the other is sure to respond. At one conference, physicists shared there theories and ideas by doing experiments.One scientist,Schrodinger, placed a cat inside a box with an atom of a radioactive substance, he said that if the particle degraded within an hours time than the cat will die, if it doesnt than the cat will live. It was regarded that the cat is 100 percent alive and 100 percent dead at the same time, Stephen Hawking then stated, "One cannot predict futere events exactly if one cannot even measure the present state of the universe precisely." at this point many physicists hated the quantum theory, or just certain parts of it, even the great Einstein wasnt too fond of it. Einstein finally came to the point of wondering why God made things in the universe that were not understandable.