By John S. Rigden

ISBN-10: 0674012526

ISBN-13: 9780674012523

Seduced through simplicity, physicists locate themselves forever thinking about hydrogen, the easiest of atoms. Hydrogen has surprised, it has stunned, it has embarrassed, it has humbled--and time and again it has guided physicists to the sting of recent vistas the place the promise of uncomplicated knowing and momentous insights beckoned. The attract of hydrogen, an important to existence and demanding to medical discovery, is on the middle of this e-book, which tells a narrative that starts with the massive bang and keeps to spread this present day.

during this biography of hydrogen, John Rigden exhibits how this singular atom, the main ample within the universe, has helped unify our figuring out of the fabric international from the smallest scale, the easy debris, to the most important, the universe itself. it's a story of startling discoveries and mind-blowing functional advantages spanning a couple of hundred years--from the 1st try and determine the elemental construction block of atoms within the mid-nineteenth century to the invention of the Bose-Einstein condensate just a couple of years in the past. With Rigden as knowledgeable and interesting advisor, we see how hydrogen captured the mind's eye of many nice scientists--such as Heisenberg, Pauli, Schrödinger, Dirac, and Rabi--and how their theories and experiments with this straightforward atom resulted in such complicated technical techniques as magnetic resonance imaging, the maser clock, and worldwide positioning structures. alongside the way in which, we witness the transformation of technological know-how from an undertaking of encouraged contributors to a huge firm frequently requiring the cooperation of enormous quantities of scientists world wide.

nonetheless, any biography of hydrogen has to finish with a question: What new surprises wait for us?


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4 Rutherford’s atom consisted of a positively charged center some 10,000 times smaller than the atom itself. This center also carried most of the mass of the atom. For the gold atom, he found the charge at the center to be approximately 100 times the charge of the electron. 2). In March 1911, this new model of the atom was conveyed to the community of science. Later, in October 1912, Rutherford used the term nucleus for the first time. Rutherford described his new model of the atom during a lecture he gave in Cambridge in the fall of 1911.

For example, a human’s body weight does not make a quantum jump from one weight-state, say 150 pounds, to another weight-state, say 160 48 hydrogen pounds; individuals’ weights are found at all weight values between 150 and 160 pounds. Weight varies continuously. But in the domain of the atom, quantum principles govern and physical properties like the energy states of an atom are quantized. Atomic energy-state values vary discontinuously with leaps from E1 to E2, from E2 to E3, and so on, and each state is labeled by a quantum number.

For this process, Bohr assumed that the conservation of energy—a pillar of physical law from the nineteenth century—applied. In other words, the energy difference between a high energy state and a low energy state was exactly equal to the energy of the emitted light. This quantum transition was expressed as follows: E2 − E1 = hf where E2 is the larger energy, h is Planck’s constant, and f is the frequency of the emitted light. 38 hydrogen Bohr wrote an explicit expression for the specific energies of the allowed states of the hydrogen atom.

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Hydrogen: The essential element by John S. Rigden

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