J. J. Thomson, English physicist

J. J. Thomson, English physicist

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Credit: US LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940), English physicist and discoverer of the electron, commonly known as J. J. Thomson. In 1876, Thomson went to Cambridge University and remained there for the rest of his life. Expanding on previous work with cathode rays, he showed that they may be deflected by an electrical field. He was also able to measure their mass to charge ratio, deducing in 1897 that they were particles much smaller than an atom. For this proof of the existence of the electron, he was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize for Physics, and was knighted in 1908. In 1912, his studies of neon proved the existence of isotopes.

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