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Franklin's Discovery of the Electron

Millikan, Robert A. (1948) Franklin's Discovery of the Electron. American Journal of Physics, 16 (5). p. 319. ISSN 0002-9505. doi:10.1119/1.1992141.

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In celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of the electron, it is a mistake to concentrate attention solely on J. J. Thomson's paper of 1897. I do not in any way underestimate the importance of that paper in bringing about general acceptance of the electron theory of matter, through the evidence presented in it for the existence of a charged particle of mass about 1/1000 the mass of the hydrogen atom. However, to this particle Thomson gave the name ''corpuscle," rather than electron, doubtless because the word "electron" had already been assigned by G. Johnstone Stoney to the hypothetical atom of electricity, that is, of electric charge, whether that charge is positive or negative. The existence of this atom of charge, or of the atomic constitution of electricity, was asserted with great clarity by Benjamin Franklin because of experiments begun in 1747, so that 1947 is both the 200th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's discovery of the existence of an a tom of electric charge and the 50th anniversary of J. J. Thomson's proof of the existence of a charged particle whose mass, as he then phrased it, was about 1/1000 that of the hydrogen atom.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 1948 American Association of Physics Teachers.
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140805-153406028
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Official Citation:Franklin's Discovery of the Electron Millikan, Robert A., American Journal of Physics, 16, 319-319 (1948), DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48014
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Aug 2014 23:04
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:52

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