FRANCES EVELEGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCES EVELEGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Discovery of the electron. Abstract photograph representing the discovery of the electron by Thomson. Joseph J. Thomson (1856-1940) built on the work of Hertz, whose experiments showed that cathode rays were not particles. Thomson realised that the fault was with Hertz's equipment, so made a cathode ray tube with a better vacuum. Thomson was thus able to show that the cathode beam was deflected by electric and magnetic fields. In a series of classic experiments, Thomson showed electrons to be particles, publishing his results in 1897. Thomson won the 1906 Nobel Prize for Physics. His son, George, won the 1937 Prize for demonstrating the electron's wave-particle nature.
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