J.J. Thomson times


J.J. Thomson first particle

In 1834 Michael Faraday had coined the word ion to account for charged particles that were attracted to positively or negatively charged electrodes. So, in Thomson’s time, it was already known that atoms were associated in some way with electric charges, and that atoms could exist in ionic forms, carrying positive or negative charges. For example, table salt is made of ionized sodium and chlorine atoms.

J.J. Thomson personal life

Thomson married Rose Paget, one of his students, in 1892. They had one daughter, Joan, and one son, George Paget Thomson, who went on to become a physicist and win a Nobel Prize of his own. J.J. Thomson published 13 books and more than 200 papers in his lifetime. In addition to being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1906, he was knighted in 1908 by King Edward VII. He left research in 1918 to become Master of Trinity College. He died in Cambridge on August 30, 1940, and is buried in Westminster Abbey near two other influential scientists: Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.