Who Discovered Electron

J. J. Thomson, an English physicist, discovered the electron in 1897 while studying cathode ray tubes. J. J. Thomson, an influential English physicist, made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of particle physics in 1897.

Born in 1856, Thomson was fascinated by the nature of electricity and set out to investigate the properties of cathode ray tubes. Through his experiments, Thomson was able to identify a fundamental particle called the electron. This discovery had a profound impact on our understanding of the structure of atoms and laid the foundation for modern physics.

We will delve into the details of Thomson’s experiments and the significance of his discovery of the electron.

Cathode Ray Tubes: Unveiling Clues About The Electron

Electrons, one of the fundamental particles in an atom, were discovered through the study of Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs). Cathode Ray Tubes were a technology used to explore the properties of cathode rays, which were later identified as streams of electrons.

During the late 19th century, several scientists conducted experiments using CRTs to unravel the mysteries of these cathode rays. J.J. Thomson, a British physicist, made significant contributions to this field by demonstrating that cathode rays were negatively charged particles. He concluded that atoms were not indivisible, as previously thought, but rather composed of smaller, negatively charged electrons.

Thomson’s experiment involved passing electric currents through a gas at low pressure, contained inside the CRT. This caused a glow to appear on the opposite end of the tube, indicating the presence of cathode rays. By applying electric and magnetic fields to the tube, Thomson observed that the rays could be deflected, suggesting their particle nature.

Thanks to J.J. Thomson’s innovative experiments with Cathode Ray Tubes, the discovery of electrons paved the way for further insights into the structure of atoms and the development of modern physics.

Joseph John Thomson: Unraveling The Secrets Of The Cathode Ray Tube

The Cathode Ray Tube Experiment (01:25)

Joseph John Thomson, a renowned physicist, conducted several crucial experiments using a cathode ray tube to unravel the mysteries of electrons. During these experiments, Thomson observed the behavior of cathode rays in electric and magnetic fields. He discovered that these rays could be deflected by both fields, indicating that they were composed of charged particles. This observation challenged the prevailing model of the atom and led Thomson to postulate the existence of a subatomic particle: the electron. By measuring the deflection of cathode rays, Thomson determined the charge-to-mass ratio of electrons and provided evidence for the particle’s existence.

Thomson’s Discovery of the Electron (06:19)

In addition to discovering the electron, Thomson made significant contributions to our understanding of atomic structure. His findings showed that atoms were not indivisible as previously believed, but rather composed of subatomic particles. Thomson’s model of the atom, known as the “Plum Pudding Model,” proposed that atoms consisted of a uniform positive charge with electrons scattered throughout, resembling a plum pudding with raisins. Although this model has since been revised, Thomson’s discovery of the electron paved the way for further research exploring the nature of atomic structure.

J.J. Thomson 1856–1940
William Crookes 1832–1919
Ernest Rutherford 1871–1937
Philipp Lenard 1862–1947
George Johnstone Stoney 1826–1911
James Chadwick 1891–1974
Paul Dirac 1902–1984
George Paget Thomson 1892–1975
Emil Wiechert 1861–1928


The Plum Pudding Model And Rutherford’s Gold Foil Experiment

The Plum Pudding Model
Exploring Thomson’s proposed model and its limitations
Rutherford’s Gold Foil Experiment
Examining Ernest Rutherford’s groundbreaking experiment and its impact on our understanding of electrons

The discovery of the electron has a significant history in the field of physics. J.J. Thomson played a vital role in this discovery. He invented the electron by conducting experiments involving a Crookes or cathode ray tube. Thomson observed that cathode rays had a negative charge. This revelation challenged the existing atom model, as it did not account for particles with charge. Thomson’s findings gave birth to the Plum Pudding Model of an atom. However, this model had its limitations.

Another crucial experiment in the discovery of electrons was Ernest Rutherford’s Gold Foil Experiment. Rutherford’s experiment provided groundbreaking evidence that an atom has a nucleus containing positively charged particles called protons and a region outside the nucleus where electrons are located. This experiment revolutionized our understanding of the structure of an atom and the role of electrons within it.

The Journey Continues: Other Contributors To The Discovery

html Who Discovered Electron

William Crookes (00:44): William Crookes made significant contributions to the study of electrons. He conducted experiments on cathode rays, which led to the discovery and understanding of the properties of electrons. Crookes demonstrated that cathode rays could be deflected by electric and magnetic fields, indicating that they were made up of charged particles. His experiments also suggested that cathode rays were negatively charged. These findings laid the foundation for further research on electrons and their role in atomic structure.

George Johnstone Stoney (10:23): George Johnstone Stoney is credited with giving the name “electron” to the negatively charged particles discovered by J.J. Thomson. Stoney derived the name from the Greek word “Electra” for Amber, which carries an inherent static charge. This name has become the standard term for the fundamental particle of electricity. Stoney’s contribution in naming the electron played a vital role in solidifying the understanding of electric charges and paved the way for further research in particle physics.

Other Contributors (11:35): Besides Crookes and Stoney, there were other scientists who also made significant contributions to the discovery of the electron. Some notable contributors include Ernest Rutherford, Philipp Lenard, James Chadwick, Paul Dirac, George Paget Thomson, and Emil Wiechert. Their collective efforts and discoveries helped shape our understanding of atomic structure and the fundamental particles that make up matter.

Who Discovered Electron

Credit: owlcation.com


The discovery of the electron can be attributed to J. J. Thomson, an English physicist, who conducted experiments with cathode ray tubes. By observing the behavior of these rays in electric and magnetic fields, Thomson determined that they were composed of particles carrying a negative charge, which he named electrons.

This groundbreaking discovery revolutionized our understanding of atomic structure and laid the foundation for further exploration of subatomic particles.

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