Joseph John Thomson was a British physicist who is widely regarded as the father of modern physics. After studying at Cambridge University and spending some time in Berlin, he returned to England in 1892 and began research on electricity with Michael Faraday. He started work on kinetic theory of gases while working for three years with James Clerk Maxwell before becoming professor of experimental physics at McGill University, Montreal. There he did groundbreaking experiments that led to his discovery of the electron structure and thus changed our understanding of atomic structure forever.,

Joseph John Thomson was a British physicist and Nobel laureate in physics. He is best known for his work on the discovery of the electron, as well as for his research into the conduction of electricity in gases.

Information about the individual
Full name Thomson, Joseph John
Birthdate 18th of December, 1856
The death date is 30th of August, 1940
Occupation Mathematician and physicist
Nationality British

Paget, Rose Elisabeth


Emma Swindells and James Thomson

Awards In 1906, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Joseph John Thomson was born in Cheetham, Manchester, England, on December 18, 1856, and died on August 30, 1940. In 1906, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the conduction of electricity through gases.

Thomson is well known for his research on the electron and the Plum Pudding Theory, also known as Thomson’s atomic model, which dives into the atomic structure of the atom and the significance of electrons or negative charge. He had a brother, Frederick Vernon Thomson, who was the son of Joseph James Thomson and Emma Swindells. His father worked as a bookstore and was always passionate about giving his children with the finest education possible. He wished for Joseph J. Thomson to pursue a career in engineering.

Career and education

He was interested in mathematics and knowledge from an early age, therefore he enrolled at Owens College in 1870 and Trinity College in Cambridge in 1876. In 1883, he earned a Bachelor of Mathematics degree. He started working as a teacher at the same university after completing his studies, where he taught mathematics and physics. He took up the Cavendish chair in 1884 and subsequently became Director of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, a post he maintained until his death in 1940.

He met scientist Niels Bohr while working at the Cavendish Laboratory, with whom he had a strong connection. He was a professor of Ernest Rutherford, a renowned New Zealand physicist and chemist, at the time. In 1890, he married Rose Elisabeth Pagetm, the daughter of Sir George E. Pagetm.

Thomson worked at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London as a professor of natural philosophy. Between 1905 to 1918, he served in this capacity. Thomas Young took up the post when he left the university. Between 1915 to 1920, he served as President of the Royal Society. He returned to the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge after holding the position at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Thomson died on August 30, 1940, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Later, he was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey.

The discoveries and works of Thomson

While studying and lecturing at the Cavendish Chair, Thomson started investigating atomic structure. He studied cathode rays throughout his career, and while performing different tests with them, he found that electric fields may alter cathode rays’ direction. Following this finding, he focused only on determining the source of the deviation, the manner in which it occurred, and their connection to the charge and mass of the particles. While performing tests with cathode-ray tubes in 1897, he found a new particle called an electron that was lighter than hydrogen. Thomson is credited with being the first scientist to discover subatomic particles.

He concentrated on deciphering all the mysteries surrounding the electron after finding it, and for this he developed a gadget that would enable him to analyze the atom’s makeup; this device was patented as the Mass Spectrometer. Thomson used this technique to discover the connection between electron mass and electric charge. He found that neon contains two isotopes, neon-20 and neon-22, using this technique.

The Atomic Model of Thomson


The Atomic Model of Thomson (Imagen de Vanessa Silvestre en Pixabay)

Thomson developed the Plum Pudding Theory, commonly known as Thomson’s Atomic Model, after years of study. Thomson proposed a novel model of atomic structure in which electrons were compared to plums in a dessert composed of positive matter. His model was incorrect because it assumed that electrons and positive charges were mixed uniformly; subsequent research revealed that this was not the case.

He concentrated on electrical conduction after completing his research on the electron; he conducted numerous tests and investigations on the flow of electricity through the interior of gases. He looked into, examined, and measured the quantity of electricity transmitted by each atom, as well as the number of molecules per cubic centimeter. In 1906, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery. Several of his works, including The discharge of electricity via gases (1898), Conduction of Electricity Through Gases (1903), The Corpuscular Theory of Matter (1907), The Electron in Chemistry (1923), and Recollections and Reflections, were published throughout his career as a physicist (1936).

Joseph John Thomson is a British physicist who made significant contributions to atomic theory. He was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases and for his discovery of the electron. Reference: j.j. thomson contribution to atomic theory.

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