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Extreme Physics by Jon Larsen, Jeff Colvin

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7 Ionization

During the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century numerous experiments were performed that probed matter on a very fine scale. The observations required explanation, and thus began the development of atomic theory. Experiments using the scattering of charged particles, as well as electromagnetic radiation, demonstrated that the atom has structure. Rutherford's experiment established that the mass of an atom is concentrated in a very small nucleus, while its volume and its physical and chemical properties are determined by a comparatively loose surrounding structure of electrons. Other experiments, such as the conduction of electricity through rarified gases, showed the existence of free ...

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