His theory: Matter could not be divided into smaller and smaller pieces forever, eventually the smallest possible piece would be obtained.
This piece would be indivisible.
He named the smallest piece of matter “atomos,” meaning “not to be cut.”
He deduced that all elements are composed of atoms. Atoms are indivisible and indestructible particles.
Atoms of the same element are exactly alike.
Atoms of different elements are different.
Compounds are formed by the joining of atoms of two or more elements.
This theory became one of the foundations of modern chemistry.
Thomson’s Plum Pudding Model
The English scientist J.J. Thomson provided the first hint that an atom is made of even smaller particles. He proposed a model of the atom that is sometimes called the “Plum Pudding” model.
Atoms were made from a positively charged substance with negatively charged electrons scattered about, like raisins in a pudding.
Thomson studied the passage of an electric current through a gas.
As the current passed through the gas, it gave off rays of negatively charged particles.
Rutherford’s Gold Foil Experiment
In 1908, the English physicist Ernest Rutherford was hard at work on an experiment that seemed to have little to do with unraveling the mysteries of the atomic structure. Rutherford’s experiment Involved firing a stream of tiny positively charged particles at a thin sheet of gold foil (2000 atoms thick) Most of the positively charged “bullets” passed right through the gold atoms in the sheet of gold foil without changing course at all. Some of the positively charged “bullets,” however, did bounce away from the gold sheet as if they had hit something solid. He knew that positive charges repel positive charges.
n 1913, the Danish scientist Niels Bohr proposed an improvement. In his model, he placed each electron in a specific energy level. According to Bohr’s atomic model, electrons move in definite orbits around the nucleus, much like planets circle the sun. These orbits, or energy levels, are located at certain distances from the nucleus.
James Chadwick Model
James Chadwick conducted an investigation involving radiation and discovered the presence of the neutron. Today’s atomic model is based on the principles of wave mechanics. According to the theory of wave mechanics, electrons do not move about an atom in a definite path, like the planets around the sun. In fact, it is impossible to determine the exact location of an electron. The probable location of an electron is based on how much energy the electron has. According to the modern atomic model, at atom has a small positively charged nucleus surrounded by a large region in which there are enough electrons to make an atom neutral.