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The discovery of electron




In the closing year of the nineteenth century an absent-minded professor of Physics in Cambridge discovered the electron. He was Joseph John Thomson, born in Manchester, first a student and then a lecturer in mathematics at Trinity College, and in 1884 was appointed Professor of Physics when he was only twenty-eight years old. However little his thoughts may have been concerned with everyday matters they were occupied to very good purpose in exploring the mysterious phenomena associated with the conduction of electricity through gases.

“I was led to investigations on this subject,” he wrote, “by having come to the conclusion that whenever a gas conducts electricity some of its molecules have been split up and that it is the molecules which have been thus modified whichimpact electrical conductivity to the gas. It was not until 1897 that I discovered that the decomposition of the molecules was of quite a different type from ordinary atomic-dissociation; then I found hat one of the bodies into which molecules split up, the one carrying negative charge, is something totally different from an atom and is indeed smaller in mass than one thousandth part of the; smallest atom known.”

This characteristic statement illustrates the clarity and originality of Thomson’s thinking and the extraordinary insight into the invisible world of atom, which enabled him to identify and measure the incredibly small electron, and to inspire his pupils and colleagues to discover the structure of the atom. It would be naive to imagine that the electron would have been long delayed, if Thomson had been less brilliant. The time was ripe for it and in the main centers of physical research of the nineteenth-century world other scientists were making experiments. His great achievement was tie peak of physical science in the nineteenth century and the source of its main stream in the twentieth. Thomson was a remarkable man who saw further than most of his colleagues but not even he could foresee the profound effect his discovery was to have on the lives of the people in the twentieth century.

The discovery of the electron, and the investigations into its nature which followed, led to a revolution in physical science. The application of the new knowledge in applied science and above all in the applied science of electronics, led to a revolution in technology and is now bringing about a revolution in twentieth-century civilization which dominates our time and will determine our future. This would sound absurd. After all, in the two-thirds of a century which has elapsed since the discovery of the electron, there have been many other great scientific discoveries; brilliant achievement in technology have followed one another at breath-taking speed.

Задание 3. Ответьте на вопросы к тексту:

1. Who discovered the electron?

2. What discovery did Thompson make?

3. Did the discovery of the electron lead to a revolution in physical science?

Задание 4. Задайте вопросы к следующим предложениям:

1. His great achievement was the peak of physical science in the nineteenth century and the source of its main stream m the twentieth.

2. Thomson was a remarkable man who saw further than most of his colleagues but not even he could have foresees the profound effect his discovery was to have on the lives of the people in the twentieth century.

3. In the closing year of the nineteenth century an absent-minded professor of Physics in Cambridge discovered the electron.

4. The time was ripe for it and the main centers of physical research of the nineteenth century world other scientists were making experiments.

Задание 5. Переведите на русский язык следующие словосочетания, используя англо-русский словарь:

Lecturer in mathematics, mysterious phenomena, negative charge, revolution in technology, at breath-taking speed, tie peak, extraordinary insight, totally different, absent-minded professor.

 

[Литература: 1-4]

 

 




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