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DEVELOPMENT OF THE ATOMIC MODEL A scientific theory is defined as a well-tested idea that explains a wide range of observations. Scientific theories often include models – physical representations of an idea to help people understand what they can’t see directly. The atomic model has changed throughout the years as more and more experiments on atoms were performed. As more evidence was collected, the atomic model has improved. Around 400 B.C., the Greek philosopher, Democritus, first stated the idea of atoms. He proposed that if a substance was repeatedly divided into smaller and smaller parts there would be a point that would be reached where the substance could not be divided any further. Democritus said that matter is made of tiny solid particles that he named atomos, which means “uncuttable”. John Dalton was a schoolteacher in England who enjoyed chemistry as a hobby. Dalton spent much of his time examining chemical reactions and was very precise when weighing the mass of the starting substances (reactants) and ending substances (products) in his reactions. Dalton noticed that the new substances always formed in mathematical ratios. In 1808, Dalton used his detailed notes to propose the first true model of the atom. Dalton said that atoms were hard, dense spheres that were indestructible. He believed that atoms of one element were exactly alike and that elements of different elements were different. In 1897, J.J. Thomson discovered that atoms contained negatively charged particles, which he called electrons. In Thomson’s model of the atom, these negatively charged particles were scattered through a ball made of positive charge. His model was called the raisin bun model, because the positively charged ball resembled the dough of a bun and the negatively-charged electrons resembled raisins in the dough. In 1911, Ernest Rutherford did a series of famous experiments that involved shooting a beam of particles at a piece of thin gold foil and observing what happened. Rutherford’s experimental data suggested that an atom is mostly empty space, with the electrons moving around a dense, positively charged center. Rutherford called this positive region in the center of the atom the nucleus. He also found that the nucleus contained positively charged particles, which he named protons. In 1932, James Chadwick, a partner of Rutherford, discovered a second particle in the nucleus. Rutherford was the first to propose that there must be a second particle in the nucleus, but he did not find it. Over two decades later, Chadwick discovered it and called it the neutron. This particle was particularly difficult to find since it had no overall charge. In 1913, Niels Bohr used Rutherford’s experimental data to show that electrons move around the nucleus in particular energy levels according to the amount of energy they have. According to Bohr, the electrons were like planets orbiting the sun. Electrons closer to the nucleus had less energy. Electrons further from the nucleus had more energy. The modern atomic model features a number of small changes to the existing model. Several scientists determined that electrons were not found in certain energy levels, but in a hazy region around the nucleus called the electron cloud. The modern atomic model states that the atom consists of a small, positively charged nucleus, containing protons and neutrons, and is surrounded by a cloudlike region of negatively charged electrons.

SUMMARY - DEVELOPMENT OF THE ATOMIC MODEL Use the reading to summarize the contributions of the scientists listed in the table to the atomic model. Atomic Model

Scientist

Date

Democritus

400 B.C.

John Dalton

1808

J.J. Thomson

Ernest Rutherford

Neils Bohr

Modern

Now

Summary of Contribution to our View of the Atom



Matter is made of tiny solid particles



He named the particles atomos, which means “uncuttable”

Atomic History Reading.pdf

states that the atom consists of a small, positively charged nucleus, containing protons and. neutrons, and is surrounded by a cloudlike region of negatively ...

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