Probing the Atom

  • David Cassidy
  • Gerald Holton
  • James Rutherford
Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Contemporary Physics book series (UTCP)


It has been hypothesized for millennia that all matter is made of tiny, indivisible, smallest bits of matter called atoms. Great progress had been made during the nineteenth century in attributing the thermodynamic laws and some of the properties of matter, especially gases, to the kinetic-molecular theory (Chapter 7). In addition, it was known for centuries that there are different types of so-called fundamental “elements” in nature—gold, silver, copper, sodium, etc. There are the smallest units into which substances can be divided by chemical means. Eventually it was found useful to give the elements special symbols, for example, “C” for carbon, “O” for oxygen, “H” for hydrogen, and so on.


Periodic Table Electric Force Threshold Frequency Photoelectric Effect Small Charge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Further Reading

  1. G. Holton and S.G. Brush, Physics, The Human Adventure, ( Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001 ), Chapter 26.Google Scholar
  2. B.H. Kevles, Naked to the Bone: Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century. Sloan Technology Series ( New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cassidy
    • 1
  • Gerald Holton
    • 2
  • James Rutherford
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Science ProgramHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA
  2. 2.358 Jefferson Physical LaboratoryHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.American Association for Advancement of ScienceUSA

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