News | Published:

Rays of Positive Electricity 1

    Naturevolume 79pages5256 (1908) | Download Citation



    IN 1886 Goldstein discovered that when the kathode in a discharge-tube is perforated, rays pass through the openings and produce luminosity in the gas behind the kathode; the colour of the light depends on the gas with which the tube is filled, and coincides with the colour of the velvety glow which occurs immediately in front of the kathode. The appearance of these rays is indicated in Fig. 1, the anode being to the left of the kathode KK. Since the rays appeared through narrow channels in the kathode, Goldstein called them “Kanalstrahlen”; now that we know more about their nature, “positive rays” would. I think, be a more appropriate name. Goldstein showed that a magnetic force which would deflect kathode rays to a very considerable extent was quite without effect on the “Kanalstrahlen.” By using intense magnetic fields, W. Wien showed that these rays could be deflected, and that the deflection was in the opposite direction to that of the kathode rays, indicating that these rays carry a positive charge of electricity. This was confirmed by measuring the electrical charge received by a vessel into which the rays passed through a small hole, and also by observing the direction in which they are deflected by an electric force. By measuring the deflections under magnetic and electric forces, Wien found by the usual methods the value of e/m and the velocity of the rays. He found for the maximum value of e/m the value of 104, which is the same as that for an atom of hydrogen in the electrolysis of solutions. A valuable summary of the properties of these rays is contained in a paper by Ewers (“Jahrbuch der Radioaktivität,” iii., p. 291, 1906).

    About this article

    Publication history

    Issue Date



    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing