The World of Atom (Part V)

ReferenceA Logical Approach to Theoretical Physics



Chapter 21: Atoms and Electricity (Michael Faraday 1791 – 1867)

Newton’s abhorrence of action at a distance led Faraday to introduce the concept of a field of force in space, such as the one around a magnet. He viewed the field as tubes of force and explained the phenomenon of induction as follows: “Whenever tubes of force are cut by a conductor, current flows in the conductor; the faster the tubes are cut, the greater the electromotive force that is induced in the conductor.” Faraday began a series of experiments in electrochemistry and described electricity as the energy that loosens from matter and moves around carrying its chemical force. It is equivalent to the particles separated.

Today we describe atoms, charges and chemical forces by discrete quantum numbers. Atoms lock together in certain precise ways through charge. When atoms separate, infinitesimal mass seems to convert into large amount of charge. Charge then converts into energy. Charge seems to act as the transitional phase between matter and energy, and it is responsible for the chemical force.

Chapter 22: Electromagnetic Theory (James Clerk Maxwell 1831 – 1879)

Maxwell pointed out that the interaction of charged bodies with the surrounding medium could not be disregarded. He assumed the existence of an electromagnetic field of force in space, which was composed of ethereal substance. This substance has a small but finite density. It has kinetic energy by motion, and potential energy by elasticity. The propagation of waves occurred because there was a continuous alternate transformation between these two forms of energy. Maxwell used experimental data of induction between electrical and magnetic fields. He had to overcome the idea of electric current being always associated with a conductor. He calls the changing electric field between two condenser plates a displacement current and states that it is measured by the rate at which the electric field is changing. With this innovation Maxwell was able to write down a set of equations for the electromagnetic field in which the electric field and the magnetic field enter in a symmetrical way. From these equations he derived a single wave equation that describes the way electromagnetic field is propagated. Maxwell’s theory explains how the atom absorbs and emits radiation.

Maxwell’s idea of the ethereal substance is very different from earlier ideas of aether. He correctly saw light as ethereal substance that itself was moving. Maxwell’s only error was assuming a constant consistency for this ethereal substance. Einstein discovered later that this consistency changes with frequency and called it “quantum”. Einstein’s error was to visualize quantum as a discrete packet of energy in space rather than an ethereal substance of specific consistency. 

Chapter 23: Cathode Rays – A “Fourth State of Matter” (William Crookes 1832 – 1919)

William Crookes studied the nature of electric current as it left a conductor into a vacuum, as “cathode rays.” It radiated out perpendicular to the surface of the cathode in straight line. It generated impact as demonstrated by rotation of leaves of a radiometer. This radiation is laminar as the “rays” do not cross each other. It produces sharp shadows. Focusing of these rays produces heating effects. The cathode rays are also deflected in the presence of a magnet, but this deflection decreases with increasing exhaustion of the tube.

Cathode rays may be described as made up of energy flow of high consistency since they generate impact. They can’t be made of discrete particles since there are no nuclei in that flow. Cathode rays are electromagnetic in nature as they are deflected by a magnetic field. Therefore, a continuous alternate transformation between electric and magnetic fields is responsible for its propagation.

Chapter 24: A Remarkable Regularity in the Hydrogen Spectrum (Johann Jacob Balmer 1825 – 1898)

Balmer produced a mathematical formula that correctly gave the wavelengths of the spectral lines of the hydrogen atom. Balmer’s discovery was generalized by the “Ritz combination principle” as follows: “For any atom there exist a characteristic sequence of numerical terms such that the frequency of any line in the spectrum of this atom can be expressed as the differences of other lines in the spectrum.” This remarkable sequence, which stemmed from the basic work of Balmer, was of great importance in leading finally to the Bohr model of the atom.

Frequency of EM radiation is determined by the back-and-forth conversion of electric and magnetic fields. This number of conversions must be an integer when the EM radiation is moving in a stable circular path, as in a vortex. Adjacent circular paths of the vortex must be related by simple fractions.

Chapter 25: The Luminiferous Ether Receives a Mortal Blow (Albert A. Michelson 1852 – 1931, Edward W. Morley 1838 – 1923)

The phenomenon of the aberration of starlight conflicted with the theory that light is a disturbance in the medium of ether. Fizeau’s experiment showed small increase in the speed of light in moving transparent bodies. This was cited as a confirmation of Fresnel’s concept of “ether drag” and as a proof for the existence of ether. Michelson-Morley’s experiment of 1887 demonstrated that if there be any relative motion between the earth and the luminiferous aether, it must be small; quite small enough entirely to refute Fresnel’s concept of “ether drag.” It raised the question about the real nature of light.

According to Maxwell, energy is made up of electrical and magnetic fields, and a continuous alternate transformation between these two fields causes its propagation as a wave. Therefore, light is propagating as a wavy substance, and no separate medium is necessary for its propagation. When we consider light as a substance the whole idea of aether as a medium of light becomes an unnecessary assumption. The consideration that ether has to be enormously rigid, goes away. Later Einstein explained the result of Fizeau’s experiment using light and water as substances whose velocities add up per the principle of relativity. This establishes light as a substance that propagates without requiring ether as its medium.



NOTE: These postulates are consistent with previous postulates.

  1. The substance appears as mass in the nucleus and as a field around the nucleus.
  2. The field substance consists of electric and magnetic properties.
  3. The electric property implies motion and the magnetic property implies elasticity.
  4. There is back and forth induction between electric and magnetic properties.
  5. The rate of this induction determines the consistency of field substance.
  6. Cathode rays (electrons) are field substance of the highest consistency.
  7. The regularity of hydrogen spectrum comes from the vortex nature of the atom.
  8. Light is not a disturbance in some aether; instead, it is an electromagnetic substance.


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