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Investigating Atoms and Atomic Theory

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1 Investigating Atoms and Atomic Theory
EQ’s: How has the model of the atom evolved over time? What important discoveries did scientists perform to help construct the modern atomic model accepted today?

2 The History of Atomic Theory
Atomos: The History of Atomic Theory

3 Atomic Models A model is another word for a theory. It uses familiar ideas to explain unfamiliar facts observed in nature. A model can be changed as new information is collected. You will be looking at 5 difference atomic models that evolved over time.

4 The Greek Model Democritus
400 BC This is the Greek philosopher Democritus who began the search for a description of matter more than 2400 years ago. He asked: Could matter be divided into smaller and smaller pieces forever? He just thought about it. He didn’t do any experiments.

5 Atomos 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.”

6 Atomos To Democritus, atoms were small, hard particles that were all made of the same material but were different shapes and sizes.

7 This theory was ignored and forgotten for more than 2000 years!

8 Dalton’s Model In the early 1800s, the English Chemist John Dalton and other scientists measured the masses of reactants and products in chemical reactions. They found that atoms always react in whole number ratios. This with other experiments with gases led to Dalton’s Model for the atom.

9 Dalton’s Theory: Elements are made of tiny particles called atoms.
All atoms of a given element are the same mass. All atoms of different atoms are different masses. Atoms combine to form compounds that always have the same whole number ratio. Atoms are indivisible and indestructible and cannot be created or destroyed. Picture of Dalton’s Atomic Model

10 . This theory became one of the foundations of modern chemistry.
However, Dalton did not know that there were any subatomic particles and believed that all atoms of an element were exactly alike which was not true.

11 Thomson’s Plum Pudding Model
In 1897, the English scientist J.J. Thomson provided the first hint that an atom is made of even smaller particles.

12 Thomson Model 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. Click here to view animation

13 Thomson concluded that the negative charges came from within the atom.
A particle smaller than an atom had to exist. The atom was divisible! Thomson called the negatively charged “corpuscles,” today known as electrons. Since the gas was known to be neutral, having no charge, he reasoned that there must be positively charged particles in the atom, but he could never find them. He also didn’t know about the nucleus or any arrangement of the electrons.

14 Thomson Model 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 rice pudding.

15 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.

16 Rutherford’s experiment Involved firing a stream of tiny positively charged particles at a thin sheet of gold foil (2000 atoms thick)

17 Rutherford’s Discovered:
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.


19 Animated Video Clip of Rutherford’s Experiment
Click on this link to see more information

20 This could only mean that the gold atoms in the sheet were mostly open space. Atoms were not a pudding filled with a positively charged material. Rutherford concluded that an atom had a small, dense, positively charged center that repelled his positively charged “bullets.” He called the center of the atom the “nucleus” The nucleus is tiny compared to the atom as a whole.

21 Rutherford’s Model Rutherford reasoned that all of an atom’s positively charged particles were contained in the nucleus. The negatively charged particles were scattered outside the nucleus around the atom’s edge.

22 Rutherford’s Model Rutherford however didn’t know how the electrons were arranged or why they didn’t fall into the nucleus since the nucleus was positive and the electrons were negative and opposites attract.

23 Bohr Model In the early 1900s, the Danish scientist Niels Bohr did experiments with the spectra of elements. Click here to explore information about where spectra come from

24 Bohr Model In 1913, the Danish scientist he proposed an improvement. In his model, he placed each electron in a specific energy level.

25 Click to watch a brief animation on where a spectrum comes from.

26 Bohr Model 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.

27 The Bohr Mode looks something like this:

28 Bohr Model Bohr’s Model does a pretty good job of giving a simple view of the atom. In the next unit we will learn, however, that the Bohr Model only worked for hydrogen and not any other atoms and electrons sometimes act like waves instead of particles.


30 Greek X Dalton Thomson Rutherford Bohr Indivisible Electron Nucleus
Electrons in Orbits Greek X Dalton Thomson Rutherford Bohr

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