J. J. Thomson

Discovering Subatomic Particles

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Who is he?

Joseph John Thomson.


J.J. Thomson was a Nobel Prize winning physicist whose research led to the discovery of electrons.

Where and when he worked?

J.J. Thomson was born on December 18, 1856, in Cheetham Hill, England, and went on to attend Trinity College at Cambridge, where he would come to head the Cavendish Laboratory. His research in cathode rays led to the discovery of the electron, and he pursued further innovations in atomic structure exploration.

What he discovered?

Thomson, in 1897, was the first to suggest that one of the fundamental units was more than 1,000 times smaller than an atom, suggesting the subatomic particle now known as the electron. Thomson discovered this through his explorations on the properties of cathode rays.

How he discovered it?

In a series of experiments designed to study the nature of electric discharge in a high-vacuum cathode-ray tube, an area being investigated by numerous scientists at the time.

Why it is important to the atom?

The Protons and Neutrons are held together in the nucleus by the electrons balancing the charge. Without electrons, we wouldn't have anything but a bunch of protons and neutrons floating around. We would also have no elements because there's nothing to hold them to each other to form them.