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Histories of the Electron:The Birth of Microphysics

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2004
Author(s): Jed Z. Buchwald; Andrew Warwick
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: General Topics for Engineers
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Abstract

In the mid to late 1890s, J. J. Thomson and colleagues at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory conducted experiments on "cathode rays" (a form of radiation produced within evacuated glass vessels subjected to electric fields) -- the results of which some historians later viewed as the "discovery" of the electron. This book is both a biography of the electron and a history of the microphysical world that it opened up.The book is organized in four parts. The first part, Corpuscles and Electrons, considers the varying accounts of Thomson's role in the experimental production of the electron. The second part, What Was the Newborn Electron Good For?, examines how scientists used the new entity in physical and chemical investigations. The third part, Electrons Applied and Appropriated, explores the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the electron in nuclear physics, chemistry, and electrical science. It follows the electron's gradual progress from cathode ray to ubiquitous subatomic particle and eponymous entity in one of the world's most successful industries -- electronics. The fourth part, Philosophical Electrons, considers the role of the electron in issues of instrumentalism, epistemology, and realism. The electron, it turns out, can tell us a great deal about how science works.

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      Front Matter

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): i - 17
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology, Title, Copyright, Contents, Acknowledgment, Contributors, Introduction View full abstract»

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      Corpuscles and Electrons

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 19
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In the mid to late 1890s, J. J. Thomson and colleagues at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory conducted experiments on "cathode rays" (a form of radiation produced within evacuated glass vessels subjected to electric fields) -- the results of which some historians later viewed as the "discovery" of the electron. This book is both a biography of the electron and a history of the microphysical world that it opened up.The book is organized in four parts. The first part, Corpuscles and Electrons, considers the varying accounts of Thomson's role in the experimental production of the electron. The second part, What Was the Newborn Electron Good For?, examines how scientists used the new entity in physical and chemical investigations. The third part, Electrons Applied and Appropriated, explores the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the electron in nuclear physics, chemistry, and electrical science. It follows the electron's gradual progress from cathode ray to ubiquitous subatomic particle and eponymous entity in one of the world's most successful industries -- electronics. The fourth part, Philosophical Electrons, considers the role of the electron in issues of instrumentalism, epistemology, and realism. The electron, it turns out, can tell us a great deal about how science works. View full abstract»

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      J.J. Thompson and the Electron, 1897–1899

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 21 - 76
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Some Historical Background, J.J. Thompson on Cathode Rays — 1897, J.J. Thompson on the Charge of Ions — 1898, The Electron and Ionization — 1899, Aftermath—The Next Decade, Thompson's Contribution to the Electron, Acknowledgments, Notes View full abstract»

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      Corpuscles to Electrons

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 77 - 100
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Existence of Electrons: Lodge's Account, The Existence of Electrons: Kaufmann's Account, Concepts of the Electron, Acceptance of the Electron, Conclusion, Acknowledgment, Notes View full abstract»

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      The Questionable Matter of Electricity: The Reception of J.J. Thompson's “Corpuscle” Among Electrical Theorists and Technologists

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 101 - 134
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Electrician and the Question Concerning Electricity, Dissociation and Indifference: Varied Responses to Thompson's 1897 Researches, Converts and Appropriators at the BAAS Meeting of 1899, New Territories and New Audiences for the Electron and Corpuscle, The Autonomy of Hardware—or Not Harnessing the “Electron” in New Technologies, Thompson vs. Thompson: The Contested Relation Between Corpuscles and Electrons, Epilogue: The Invention of Discovery Stories for the “Electron”, Conclusion: A New Uncertainty Principle, Notes View full abstract»

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      Paul Villard, J.J. Thompson, and the Composition of Cathod Rays

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 135 - 167
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Paul Villard and the Chemical Analysis of Substances, J.J. Thompson and Paul Villard: Two Different Ways of Doing Physics, After 1898: The Circulation and Transformation of Scientific Facts, Elementary Particles, Intellectual Itineraries and Scientific Social Worlds, Acknowledgments, Notes, References View full abstract»

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      What Was The Newborn Electron Good For?

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 169
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In the mid to late 1890s, J. J. Thomson and colleagues at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory conducted experiments on "cathode rays" (a form of radiation produced within evacuated glass vessels subjected to electric fields) -- the results of which some historians later viewed as the "discovery" of the electron. This book is both a biography of the electron and a history of the microphysical world that it opened up.The book is organized in four parts. The first part, Corpuscles and Electrons, considers the varying accounts of Thomson's role in the experimental production of the electron. The second part, What Was the Newborn Electron Good For?, examines how scientists used the new entity in physical and chemical investigations. The third part, Electrons Applied and Appropriated, explores the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the electron in nuclear physics, chemistry, and electrical science. It follows the electron's gradual progress from cathode ray to ubiquitous subatomic particle and eponymous entity in one of the world's most successful industries -- electronics. The fourth part, Philosophical Electrons, considers the role of the electron in issues of instrumentalism, epistemology, and realism. The electron, it turns out, can tell us a great deal about how science works. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      The Zeeman Effect and th Discovery of the Electron

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 171 - 194
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: On Scientific Discovery, Zeeman's Discovery, Lorentz's Theory of “Ions” and its Impact on Zeeman's Investigations, Larmor's “Electron” and its Transformation by Zeeman's Discovery, Acknowledgment, Notes View full abstract»

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      The Electron, the Protyle, and the Unity of Matter

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 195 - 226
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Proutean Tradition, The Protyle Materialized, The Protyle Dematerialized, Conclusion: Toward the Quantum Electron, Notes View full abstract»

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      O.W. Richardson and the Electron Theory of Matter, 1901–1916

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 227 - 253
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Richardson's Research, 1901–1916, Notes View full abstract»

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      Electron Gas Theory of Metals: Free Electrons in Bult Matter

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 255 - 303
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Legitimacy of the Electron Gas Model, Severe Problems in Electron Gas Theory, Conclusion, Acknowledgment, Notes View full abstract»

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      Electrons Applied and Appropriated

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 305
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In the mid to late 1890s, J. J. Thomson and colleagues at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory conducted experiments on "cathode rays" (a form of radiation produced within evacuated glass vessels subjected to electric fields) -- the results of which some historians later viewed as the "discovery" of the electron. This book is both a biography of the electron and a history of the microphysical world that it opened up.The book is organized in four parts. The first part, Corpuscles and Electrons, considers the varying accounts of Thomson's role in the experimental production of the electron. The second part, What Was the Newborn Electron Good For?, examines how scientists used the new entity in physical and chemical investigations. The third part, Electrons Applied and Appropriated, explores the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the electron in nuclear physics, chemistry, and electrical science. It follows the electron's gradual progress from cathode ray to ubiquitous subatomic particle and eponymous entity in one of the world's most successful industries -- electronics. The fourth part, Philosophical Electrons, considers the role of the electron in issues of instrumentalism, epistemology, and realism. The electron, it turns out, can tell us a great deal about how science works. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      The Electron and the Nucleus

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 307 - 325
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Nuclear Electrons to 1932, Heisenberg's N-P Nuclear Model and the Electron, The Role of Cosmic-Ray Multiplicity in Heisenberg's Thinking About Nuclear Electrons, Provisional Solution of the Electron-Nucleus Problem, Are there Electrons in the Nucleus or Not?, Notes, References View full abstract»

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      The Electron, the Hole, and the Transistor

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 327 - 338
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Operational Reality of the Electron, The Emergence of the Hole, Invention of the Transistor, Aknowledgment, Notes View full abstract»

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      Remodeling A Classic: The Electron in Organic Chemistry, 1900–1940

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 339 - 361
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Electron and Chemical Valence, Reaction Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry, Conclusion: Chemical Electrons and Chemical Revolution, Notes View full abstract»

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      The Physicists' Electrons and Its appropriaton by the Chemists

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 363 - 400
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Spectre of Reductionism, The Mysterious Band, The First Application of Quantum Mechanics to Chemistry, Binding Forces, The Paulie Principle, Reactions to the Heitler-London Paper, Polyelectronic Molecules and the Application of Group Theory to Problems of Chemical Valence, Chemists at Physicists?, Linus Pauling's Resonance Structures, Robert Mulliken's Moleular Orbittals, Differences in opinion or Different Couses?, Notes View full abstract»

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      Philosophical Electrons

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 401
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In the mid to late 1890s, J. J. Thomson and colleagues at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory conducted experiments on "cathode rays" (a form of radiation produced within evacuated glass vessels subjected to electric fields) -- the results of which some historians later viewed as the "discovery" of the electron. This book is both a biography of the electron and a history of the microphysical world that it opened up.The book is organized in four parts. The first part, Corpuscles and Electrons, considers the varying accounts of Thomson's role in the experimental production of the electron. The second part, What Was the Newborn Electron Good For?, examines how scientists used the new entity in physical and chemical investigations. The third part, Electrons Applied and Appropriated, explores the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the electron in nuclear physics, chemistry, and electrical science. It follows the electron's gradual progress from cathode ray to ubiquitous subatomic particle and eponymous entity in one of the world's most successful industries -- electronics. The fourth part, Philosophical Electrons, considers the role of the electron in issues of instrumentalism, epistemology, and realism. The electron, it turns out, can tell us a great deal about how science works. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Who Really Discovered the Electron?

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 403 - 424
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Two Problems with Identifying J.J. Thompson as the Discoverer, What is Discovery?, Contrasting Views of Discovery, Did Thompson Discover the Electron?, Strong Discovery, What is So Important about Who Discovered the Electron (or Anything Else)?, Notes View full abstract»

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      History and Metaphysics: On the Reality of Spin

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 425 - 449
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Background, The Electron Magnet Gospel, Spin and Relativity — The Puzzle Continues, The Relativistics Spinning Electron, Acknowledgment, Notes, References View full abstract»

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      What Shouls Philosophers of Science Learn from the History of the Electrons?

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 451 - 465
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Historically Stable Properties, Structure, Conclusion, Acknowldegment, Notes, References View full abstract»

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      The Role of Theory in the Use of Instruments; Or, How Much Do We Need to Know about Electrons to do Science with an Electron Microscope?

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 467 - 502
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Biology One: Rockfeller Reticulum, Biology Two: Muscle at MIP, Solid State Physics: Crystals or Cambrige, Notes View full abstract»

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      Index

      Jed Z. Buchwald ; Andrew Warwick Page(s): 468 - 502
      Copyright Year: 2004

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In the mid to late 1890s, J. J. Thomson and colleagues at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory conducted experiments on "cathode rays" (a form of radiation produced within evacuated glass vessels subjected to electric fields) -- the results of which some historians later viewed as the "discovery" of the electron. This book is both a biography of the electron and a history of the microphysical world that it opened up.The book is organized in four parts. The first part, Corpuscles and Electrons, considers the varying accounts of Thomson's role in the experimental production of the electron. The second part, What Was the Newborn Electron Good For?, examines how scientists used the new entity in physical and chemical investigations. The third part, Electrons Applied and Appropriated, explores the accommodation, or lack thereof, of the electron in nuclear physics, chemistry, and electrical science. It follows the electron's gradual progress from cathode ray to ubiquitous subatomic particle and eponymous entity in one of the world's most successful industries -- electronics. The fourth part, Philosophical Electrons, considers the role of the electron in issues of instrumentalism, epistemology, and realism. The electron, it turns out, can tell us a great deal about how science works. View full abstract»