Sep 09 2019

Atomic Stability

Published by at 6:58 pm under Classical Electrodynamics

Rutherford states that “Larmor has shown that the condition for no loss of energy by radiation is that the vector sum of the accelerations of all the component charged particles shall be permanently zero.  If this condition is not fulfilled there will be a steady drain of internal energy from the atom in the form of electromagnetic radiation, and unless this is balanced in some way by the absorption of energy from outside, the atom must ultimately become unstable and break up into a new system.” * (Rutherford references “Larmor:  Aether and Matter, p. 233”)

This is interesting in that by 1906 it was realized that radiation energy would need to be exchanged in order that atoms and molecules not collapse.  Even within the atom, by stating “vector sum” it is alluded that energy is exchanged.  Keep in mind that this was before the Bohr model of the atom.

In the next paragraph, Rutherford has:  “The positively and negatively charged particles constituting the atom must be so arranged as to form a stable aggregate under their forces of attraction and repulsion, and at the same time their arrangement and motions must be such that no energy is radiated from the atom.”

* E. Rutherford, Radioactive Transformations, Yale University, 1906, p. 262

One response so far

One Response to “Atomic Stability”

  1. Kevinon 03 Nov 2019 at 8:50 am

    Have this book checked out, but it is due back today:
    “The Theory of Spectra and Atomic Constitution, Three Essays by Niels Bohr”, Cambridge at the University Press, 1924.
    Near the beginning of the third essay, “given before a joint meeting of the Physical and Chemical Societies of Copenhagen on the 18th of October 1921”, we have with the “first postulate”:
    “These stationary states are, in addition, supposed to possess a peculiar kind of stability, so that it is impossible either to add energy to or remove energy from the atom except by a process involving a transition of the atom into another of these states.”

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