The History Of Atoms

This timeline relates to the events leading to the development of nuclear weapons which derive destructive energy from the release of atomic energy in nuclear weapons and atomic bombs. At the beginning of the 20th century scientists realized the atom could be split and the atom's elementary building blocks the electron, proton, and neutron were mapped which led to the discovery of nuclear fission transforming the atom into a new and powerful source of energy.


Isaac Newton


Modelled the atom using billiard balls.

Periodic Table


Mendeleev produces the Periodic Table.

Electro magnetic field


James Clerk Maxwell: introduced the electro magnetic field around atoms.



J.J. Thompson: discovered electrons using cathode rays, showed that glowing matter wasn't light waves

Manhattan Project

1939 - 1945

The top-secret atomic energy program, known as the Manhattan Project, employed scientists under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer to develop the first transportable atomic bomb and produce the plutonium and uranium-235 necessary for nuclear fission.

Atomic Energy Act of 1954


The U.S. Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allowing the Atomic Energy Commission to license private companies to use nuclear materials and build nuclear power plants.