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ZingPath: Atomic Structure

History of Atomic Models

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Atomic Structure

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Lesson Focus

History of Atomic Models


Learning Made Easy

You will learn to look closely at the inner structure of atoms. Follow our understanding of atomic structure from the ancient Greeks who deduced the existence of atoms through to the major experiments that revealed details of their structure. Even perform some of these key experiments yourself.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain Dalton’s atomic model.
  • Explain Thomson’s atomic model.
  • Explain Rutherford’s atomic model.
  • Explain Bohr’s atomic model.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Who was the first scientist to introduce an atomic model, and what did he believe about its structure?

~ When English scientist John Dalton introduced the world's first atomic model, he proposed that each atom was a solid sphere that could not be broken down any further.

What theory did J.J. Thomson develop about atomic structure, and what type of food did he use to illustrate it?

~ J.J. Thomson, a physicist from England, theorized that atoms were composed of a number of even smaller particles. He used raisin bread as a means to illustrate his point, stating that the bread itself represented the positively charged bulk of the atom, and the raisins represented the negatively charged particles contained within it.

What did Ernest Rutherford's famous alpha scattering experiment prove about atomic structure?

~ Rutherford's famed alpha scattering experiment proved that atoms are composed of a dense, positively charged nucleus that is orbited by small, negatively charged particles.

What twentieth-century scientist proposed that electrons move in discrete orbits at fixed distances around the nucleus?

~ Neils Bohr, a Danish physicist, suggested in 1913 that electrons move in discrete orbits at fixed distances around the nucleus.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should have an intellectual grasp on the following terms: Atomic models, Dalton’s atomic model, and Thomson’s atomic model.
Course Physics
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary Atomic models, Dalton’s atomic model, Thomson’s atomic model