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J.J. Thomson was born on December 18, 1856, in Cheetham Hill, England, near Manchester. His father was a bookseller who planned for Thomson to be an engineer. When an apprenticeship at an engineering firm couldn’t be found, Thomson was sent to pass his time at Owens College at the age of 14. In 1876, J.J Thompson received a scholarship to attend Trinity College at Cambridge to study mathematics. His research in cathode rays led to the discovery of the electron, and he pursued further innovations in atomic structure exploration. Furthermore, Thomson won the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics, among many accolades.
He died on August 30, 1940.The British physicist J. J. Thomson performed a series of experiments in 1897 designed to study the nature of electric discharge in a high-vacuum cathode-ray tube, an area being investigated by many scientists at the time. Thomson interpreted the deflection of the rays by electrically charged plates and magnets as evidence of “bodies much smaller than atoms” (electrons) that he calculated as having a very large value for the charge-to-mass ratio.Thompson Researched many studies throughout the years; however, he is most credited for his work with cathode rays, which are glowing beams of light that follow an electrical discharge in a high-vacuum tube.
Thompson’s research of the cathode rays led to his contributions to the atomic theory, such as discovering electrons which he initially called ‘corpuscles’, as well as developing the existing model of the atom at the time creating a ‘plum pudding ‘ like model. The negative electrons represented the raisins in the pudding and the dough contained the positive charge. Thomson’s model of the atom did explain some of the electrical properties of the atom due to the electrons but failed to recognize the positive charges in the atom as particles. J.J Thompson studied the cathode rays by devising better equipment and methods than what had been used before.
When he passed the rays through the vacuum, he was able to measure the angle at which they were deflected and calculate the ratio of the electrical charge to the mass of the particles. He discovered that the ratio was the same regardless of what type of gas was used, which led him to conclude that the particles that made up the gases were universal. So, J.J Thompson contributed a lot to the atomic structure and atomic theory through his research and studies of the cathode rays.
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