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Models of the Atom a Historical Perspective

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1 Models of the Atom a Historical Perspective

2 Early Greek Theories Democritus 400 B.C. - Democritus thought matter could not be divided indefinitely. This led to the idea of atoms in a void. fire air water earth Aristotle 350 B.C - Aristotle modified an earlier theory that matter was made of four “elements”: earth, fire, water, air. Aristotle was wrong. However, his theory persisted for 2000 years.

3 John Dalton 1800 -Dalton proposed a modern atomic model
based on experimentation not on pure reason. All matter is made of atoms. Atoms of an element are identical. Each element has different atoms. Atoms of different elements combine in constant ratios to form compounds. Atoms are rearranged in reactions. His ideas account for the law of conservation of mass (atoms are neither created nor destroyed) and the law of constant composition (elements combine in fixed ratios).

4 Adding Electrons to the Model
Materials, when rubbed, can develop a charge difference. This electricity is called “cathode rays” when passed through an evacuated tube (demos). These rays have a small mass and are negative. Thompson noted that these negative subatomic particles were a fundamental part of all atoms. Dalton’s “Billiard ball” model ( ) Atoms are solid and indivisible. Thompson “Plum pudding” model (1900) Negative electrons in a positive framework. The Rutherford model (around 1910) Atoms are mostly empty space. Negative electrons orbit a positive nucleus.

5 Ernest Rutherford
Rutherford shot alpha () particles at gold foil. Zinc sulfide screen Thin gold foil Lead block Radioactive substance path of invisible -particles Most particles passed through. So, atoms are mostly empty. Some positive -particles deflected or bounced back! Thus, a “nucleus” is positive & holds most of an atom’s mass.

6 Bohr’s model Electrons orbit the nucleus in “shells”
Electrons can be bumped up to a higher shell if hit by an electron or a photon of light. There are 2 types of spectra: continuous spectra & line spectra. It’s when electrons fall back down that they release a photon. These jumps down from “shell” to “shell” account for the line spectra seen in gas discharge tubes (through spectroscopes).

7 Quantum Mechanical Model
A quantum of energy is the amount of energy required to move an electron from one energy level to another. The energy levels are like the rungs of a ladder but are not equally spaced. Energy levels are like the orbits in Bohr’s atomic model.

8 Quantum Mechanical Model
1920’s Werner Heisenberg (Uncertainty Principle) At any time, we can not know exactly where an electron is located. Louis de Broglie (electron has wave properties) Although they are particles, electrons also act like waves Erwin Schrodinger (mathematical equations using probability, quantum numbers) This is Werner Heisenberg. He’s a pretty cool looking guy, isn’t he?

9 Electron Motion Around an Atom, Shown as a de Broglie Wave
Orbitals take on different shapes depending on their energies. You can never be sure when an electron is in an electron cloud, but mathematical equations allow scientists to guess.

10 Summing up the Quantum Mechanical Model:
Electrons are located in specific energy levels. There is no exact path around the nucleus. The model estimates the probability of finding an electron in a certain position.

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