The Quantum Model of the Atom

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


One of the first important clues to understanding atomic structure involved the study of the emission and absorption of light by the atoms of different elements. Physicists knew from Maxwell’s theory that light is emitted and absorbed only by accelerating charges. This suggested that the atom might contain moving charges. Patterns and regularities in the properties of the light emitted we expected to provide valuable clues about the precise nature of the motions of the moving charges. The results of this study were so important to the unraveling of atomic structure that we review their development here in some detail.


Periodic Table Helium Atom Quantum Model Bright Line Mercury Atom 
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Further Reading

  1. G. Holton and S.G. Brush, Physics, The Human Adventure ( Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001 ), Chapter 28.Google Scholar
  2. C.H. Townes, How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999 ).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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