The World of Atom (Part VI)

ReferenceA Logical Approach to Theoretical Physics



Chapter 26: The Discovery of X-rays (Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen 1845 – 1923)

The discovery of X-rays was made accidentally by Roentgen on November 2, 1895, while he was experimenting with a Crooke’s tube covered by a shield of black cardboard. The source of X-rays was cathode rays falling on the glass surface of the tube. The X -rays exhibit the properties of light waves of very short wavelength. They can easily pass through the paper and wood. Other substances are transparent to it by different degrees. The denser the substance, the less transparent it is. X-rays are not identical with cathode rays because they cannot be deflected by a magnetic field. X-rays ionize air and other gases, which can then discharge electrified bodies.

X-rays are electromagnetic in nature like light and the cathode rays. Their wavelength is much shorter than that of light, but much longer than that of cathode rays.

Chapter 27: The Discovery of Radioactivity (Antoine Henri Becquerel 1852 – 1908)

Becquerel was studying phosphorescence in Uranium salts (1896) when he discovered radiation that penetrated paper opaque to light. Unlike phosphorescence and X-rays, this radiation continued to be emitted without any external excitation. But like X-rays, it discharged electrified bodies and went through bodies opaque to light. The enfeeblement of these radiations in passing through various screens was less than the enfeeblement of X-rays.

This radiation was more penetrating than X-rays. It continued to be emitted without any external excitation. Therefore, it was called radioactivity.

Chapter 28: The Discovery of the Electron (J. J. Thomson 1856 – 1940)

J. J. Thomson investigated the nature of the cathode rays that appeared when the gas discharge occurred at low pressure. It was known that the cathode-ray beam carried negative charges, but Thomson demonstrated in 1897 that cathode rays and negative charges are one and the same thing. Since the mass to charge ratio for the cathode rays was about 2000 times lighter than the lightest atom of hydrogen known, he concluded that the negative charges of cathode rays were subatomic particles. These were later named electrons.

Electron forms the volume of the hydrogen atom, whereas the nucleus forms the mass. An electron may be postulated to be a vortex that has no nucleus to maintain its shape. So, electrons in a cathode ray beam may constantly appear and disappear as vortices but provide a high consistency of energy and a slower than light speed.

Chapter 29: The Discovery of Polonium and Radium (Pierre Curie 1859 – 1906, Marie Sklodovska Curie 1867 – 1934)

After Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity in 1896, Pierre and Marie Curie, in 1898, started a systematic search of other radioactive elements. They soon discovered Polonium and Radium. It took them till 1902 to isolate enough radium to determine its atomic weight.

This was a heroic effort by Pierre and Marie Curie.

Chapter 30: The Discovery of α-and β-rays from Uranium (Ernest Rutherford 1871 – 1937)

Ernest Rutherford start working on understanding the nature of the radioactive emissions, and soon discovered the α-and β-rays from Uranium in 1899.

Later, the α-rays were found to consist of helium nuclei; and the β-rays we found to be similar to the cathode rays.

Chapter 31: The Discovery of γ-rays (Paul Villard 1860 – 1934)

Villard discovered γ-rays in 1900 in the course of investigating the natural radiations from radium. He wanted to see whether or not a penetrating radiation like X-rays might be emitted. He found that a part of the emission from radium was very penetrating, and it was not deflected by a magnetic field. Hence this radiation carried no electric charge. It did have the nature of very penetrating X-rays.

The natural radiations from radioactivity consist of α, β and γ rays.

Chapter 32: The Transformation of the Elements (Ernest Rutherford 1871 – 1937, Frederick Soddy 1877 – 1956)

Rutherford and Soddy discovered in 1902 the transformation of the atoms of elements as part of radioactivity. Consequently, all radioactive elements were considered as undergoing spontaneous transformation into new elements; the atom could no longer be viewed as the immutable entity that chemistry had hitherto considered it. Thus, the most sweeping changes in the contemporary outlook on matter were introduced.

Radioactivity is accompanied by a restructuring of the nucleus.

Chapter 33: The Quantum Theory of Radiation (Max Planck 1858 – 1947)

In his study of the interaction between matter and radiation in black-body radiation, Planck discovered in 1900 that energy and action are atomic in nature. This radiation of frequency f can be absorbed or emitted only in bundles (or quanta) hf. This led to the quantum of action h. The atomicity of action means that the emission and absorption of radiation by matter is discontinuous. To get this, Planck had to postulate that entropy is zero at zero absolute temperature. This discovery meant that the wave picture of electromagnetic radiation would have to be replaced by a wave-corpuscular picture.

The corpuscular picture can be satisfied by considering radiation to be a wave that has substance, and not a disturbance in some postulated aether. Thus, radiation may be assigned a consistency (a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc.) while it remains continuous in space. The terms “frequency” and “wavelength” comes from waves in the material domain. For radiation in energy domain, the analogous terms could be “consistency” and “volume.” As one moves up the spectrum, the consistency of radiation increases and its volume decreases. When radiation interacts with matter it is absorbed or emitted proportional to its consistency. This determines the quantum hf. The quantum of action h is a proportionality constant. It maintains the integrity of radiation and limits the rate of its absorption or emission. It also maintains the consistency of different radiations as they crisscross through each other. At the upper end of the spectrum the consistency is high enough to form the electrons. We see the consistency suddenly jump up at the center of the atom from electron to the proton by a factor of 1840. This consistency in nucleus may continue to increase. This seems to be the case with black holes at the center of a galaxy.

Chapter 34: Mass Changes with Velocity (Walter Kaufmann 1871 – 1947)

In the observed range of speeds e/m varies very strongly; with increasing v the ratio e/m decreases very markedly, from which one may infer the presence of a not inconsiderable fraction of “apparent mass” which increases with speed in such a way as to become infinite at the speed of light.

An uncharged particle is a particle of mass. A charged particle is a mass particle with charge. Electrons are pure charge with no mass. They are made up of electrostatic and magnetic fields, which we may refer to as electromagnetic substance. The electromagnetic substance is not the same as mass because the laws that apply to it are different. According to the laws of induction, a magnetic field is always so directed as to oppose the force acting to accelerate the electron. In other words, the magnetic field acts like the inertia. So, the properties common to mass and electromagnetic substance are inertia and momentum. A substance is identified by these properties. The “apparent mass” of the electron is the force required to overcome this “inertia” of the electron. The force that will accelerate an electron to speed of light will encounter infinite “inertia.” This is erroneously looked upon as the mass of the electron moving at the speed of light is infinite.

Chapter 35: The Electron Theory of Matter (Henrik Anton Lorentz 1853 – 1928)

Lorentz created a model of electron in which electric charge was distributed within a thin spherical, material surface embedded in an electromagnetic field. When this electron was accelerated by the interaction of charge with the electromagnetic field, it flattened in the direction of motion. Lorentz gave the moving electron its own coordinate system relative to the fixed coordinate system of earth. The transformation equations came about as Maxwell’s electromagnetic equations were kept the same in both fixed and moving coordinate systems.

Lorentz model essentially approximated for electron an electromagnetic radiation of high consistency. The consistency of this electromagnetic radiation increased as its internal inertia resisted the force applied to accelerate it, and its volume-space decreased. These changes appeared as Lorentz transformation equations.

Chapter 36: Einstein’s Legacy (Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955)

Einstein provided ground breaking physical reasoning to establish the reality of molecules, electromagnetic radiation and physical space. He proved the existence of molecules directly by relating it to the observable phenomenon of Brownian motion mathematically.

Matter, as a substance, is reducible to discrete point-particles that have momentum and inertia. Such properties are distinctive of “mass”.The “mass” of the electron is seen as increasing with velocity; but it is actually the inertia of electron that is increasing when accelerated. Electron has charge but it has no mass because it is not reducible to a point-particle.

Einstein established beyond any doubt that electromagnetic radiation has particle-like properties. In spite of its wave properties radiation was not a disturbance in some postulated ether. Radiation field could exist in space quite independently of palpable matter. Einstein visualized radiation as made up of unchanging energy-packets (quanta) distributed discontinuously in space. Einstein proved further that energy and mass are equivalent, and mechanics could no longer be maintained as the foundation of physics.

The particle-like properties of electromagnetic radiation are actually substance-like properties of momentum and inertia. Radiation is a different kind substance in that its momentum and inertia are many orders of magnitude less than that of matter, and it follows the laws of electromagnetism instead of Newton’s laws of motion. The wave-particle dilemma disappears when radiation is viewed as a fluid-like substance with a diffused consistency rather than a particle-like concentrated consistency in space. Maxwell’s model accounted for the intensity of radiation but not for its unchanging consistency. The consistency naturally provides the unit of energy involved in the absorption and emission of that radiation. This is the quantum.

Einstein further established the nature of electromagnetic substance through his special theory of relativity. He determined that no observer (inertial frame) could travel at the speed of light. He postulated that the laws of nature, including the speed of light, should appear the same in all inertial frames moving with uniform speed with respect to each other. This became the basis of Einstein’s relativity. It resulted in the revision of the concepts of space and time.

The waves of electromagnetic substance are analogous to the waves of disturbance in a material medium. They are described by the same mathematics; but they are actually different in reality. The wave in a material medium is described by frequency, wave-length and period. However, the corresponding characteristics of an electromagnetic wave are best described as consistency, volume-space and duration. As frequency increases, wave-length decreases and period becomes increasingly repetitive. Similarly, as the consistency of radiation increases, its volume-space condenses and its duration at a location increases. This results in the reduction of speed. Thus, we see electron moving much slower than light. Since the consistency of light is many orders of magnitude less than the consistency of matter, the speed of light is many orders of magnitude greater than the speed of inertial frames in the material domain. Therefore, the speed of light appears to be constant for any uniformly moving coordinate system in the material domain. This is a good approximation. The mathematics of special relativity then follows. Matter and electromagnetic radiation are two different kind of substances that exist in space. Their relative motion is an expression of their relative consistency. The perception of space and time is fixed in nature through this relationship. 

Einstein also published an analysis indicating the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass is not a mere accident of nature, but the basis of a profound physical principle that leads to a new theory of gravity. Einstein realized that mathematical descriptions of nature were to be taken as laws only if their forms remain unchanged in going from one frame of reference to any other frame by the most general type of coordinate transformation we can imagine. This became his general theory of relativity.

From matter to electromagnetic radiation the substance undergoes orders of magnitude reduction in its essential property of inertia. A similar orders of magnitude reduction takes place from electromagnetic radiation to space. The substance of space is currently recognized as the Higgs Field. As material and electromagnetic substances move through space, there is a resistance that appears as inertia. The more is the acceleration, the greater is the inertia. When the acceleration is fixed and balanced by inertia it appears as the consistency of the quantum or mass. Here we have the Higgs field converting into the quantum or mass. Please see A New Theory of Gravitation.



NOTE: These postulates are consistent with previous postulates.

  1. Matter, as a substance, has momentum and inertia, and it is reducible to discrete point-particles.
  2. These properties of matter are identified together as “mass”.
  3. Electromagnetic radiation has extremely small momentum and inertia, and it is not reducible to discrete point-particles. 
  4. Electromagnetic (EM) radiation appears to be a fluid-like substance; and it is not identified as having mass. 
  5. A small amount of matter is equivalent to a very large amount of EM radiation in terms of energy.
  6. The acceleration of EM substance (such as electron) increases its inertia (not mass).
  7. The EM substance has a spectrum consisting of light, X-rays, γ-rays and cathode rays (electrons).
  8. The EM substance has a wave nature analogous to a material wave.
  9. The momentum and inertia of EM substance comes from its consistency (a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc.).
  10. The quantum implies the consistency of EM substance that naturally provides the unit of energy involved in the absorption and emission of that radiation.
  11. The EM substance has a wave nature analogous to a material wave.
    1. The “consistency” of EM substance is analogous to the “frequency” of a material wave.
    2. The “volume-space” of EM substance is analogous to the “wavelength” of a material wave.
    3. The “duration” of EM substance is analogous to the “period” of a material wave.
  12. The higher is the consistency of EM substance, the lesser is its volume-space indicating condensation.
  13. The intrinsic motion of EM substance is balanced by its innate inertia. This appears as a constant speed; for example, the speed of light.
  14. The increased condensation of EM substance means increased duration and lessened speed; for example, the speed of electron is less than the speed of light.
  15. The condensing volume-space and increasing duration provide the varying sense of space and time.
  16. Space is a “substance“ different from matter and EM substance. The space-substance is represented by the Higgs field.
  17. The Higgs field generates the resistance to motion of substances of higher consistency, which appears as inertia.
  18. The consistency of substance consists of “fixed inertia”.


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