Atoms, Ions, Electrons, Atomic Nuclei, Photons

  • Wolfgang Finkelnburg


We begin our discussion of the structure of matter by demonstrating the evidence for the existence of individual atoms and their constituent parts: electrons, ions, and nuclei. For it is the properties and behavior of these particles with which atomic physics deals and from which atomic physicists hope to derive all other properties of matter. When we speak of the atom as being the smallest particle of matter — when we say, for instance, that the iron atom is the smallest particle into which a piece of iron can be divided — we mean that the parts of an iron atom do not show any more the chemical characteristics typical for that element. We make this distinction because it has been known for a long time now that the atom can be broken down into smaller particles. It was in the present century that the existence of atoms as the smallest units in the meaning mentioned above was conclusively proved by experiments. These will be presented in this book. As recently as in the latter part of the last century a vehement scientific debate was waged over the question whether the atom existed as an actual physical entity, or whether the atomic hypothesis was merely a convenient working hypothesis for explaining many observations which had been made on the behavior of matter. In the following pages we shall discuss the evidence for the atomic structure of matter and, at the same time, the proof for the atomicity of the electric charge and thus of electricity itself since it is now known that matter and electricity are inseparably related.


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Section 4

  1. Glaser, W.: Grundlagen der Elektronenoptik. Wien: Springer 1952.Google Scholar
  2. Klemperer, O.: Einführung in die Elektronik. Berlin: Springer 1933. Improved English Ed.: Cambridge 1953.Google Scholar
  3. Massey, H. S. W.: Negative Ions. 2nd Ed. Cambridge: University Press 1950.Google Scholar
  4. Simon, H., R. Suhrmann, and others: Der lichtelektrische Effekt und seine Anwendungen. 2nd Ed. Berlin: Springer 1959.Google Scholar
  5. Zworykin, V. K., and E. G. Ramberg: Photoelectricity and its Application. New York: Wiley 1949.Google Scholar

Section 6

  1. Aston, F. W.: Isotopes. Leipzig: Hirzel 1923. Modem 2nd English Ed.: New York: Longmans 1942.Google Scholar
  2. Barnard, G. B.: Modem Mass Spectrometry. London: Institute of Physics 1953.Google Scholar
  3. Ewald, H., u. H. Hintenberger: Methoden und Anwendungen der Massenspektroskopie. Weinheim: Verlag Chemie 1953.Google Scholar
  4. Mattauch, J., u. A. Flammersfeld: Isotopenbericht. Tübingen: Verlag der Zeitschrift für Naturforschung 1949.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. Rieck, G. R.: Einführung in die Massenspektroskopie. Berlin: Deutsch. Verlag d. Wiss. 1956.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Finkelnburg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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