Letter | Published:

The Structure of the Atom

Nature volume 92, page 423 (11 December 1913) | Download Citation



IN a letter to this journal last week, Mr. Soddy has discussed the bearing of my theory of the nucleus atom on radio-active phenomena, and seems to be under the impression that I hold the view that the nucleus must consist entirely of positive electricity. As a matter of fact, I have not discussed in any detail the question of the constitution of the nucleus beyond the statement that it must have a resultant positive charge. There appears to me no doubt that the α particle does arise from the nucleus, and I have thought for some time that the evidence points to the conclusion that the particle has a similar origin. This point has been discussed in some detail in a recent paper by Bohr (Phil. Mag., September, 1913). The strongest evidence in support of this view is, to my mind, (1) that the β ray, like the α ray, transformations are independent of physical and chemical conditions, and (2) that the energy emitted in the form of β and γ rays by the transformation of an atom of radium C is much greater than could be expected to be stored up in the external electronic system. At the same time, I think it very likely that a considerable fraction of the rays which are expelled from radioactive substances arise from the external electrons. This, however, is probably a secondary effect resulting from the primary expulsion of a β particle from the nucleus.

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  1. Manchester, December 6, 1913.



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