Chapter

On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules

Helge Kragh

in Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654987
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741692 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654987.003.0002
On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules

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Starting with Bohr’s education and early career in Copenhagen, where he focused on the electron theory of metals, the chapter follows the early development of his ideas of atomic structure. These ideas matured during his stay with Rutherford in Manchester and were published in three seminal papers in 1913. The main part of the chapter offers a description and analysis of the ‘trilogy’ of papers in which Bohr laid out the foundation of his atomic theory. It also covers the early and successful spectroscopic applications of the theory in the area of one-electron atomic systems, where Bohr defended his theory against objections from British physicists. Moreover, the chapter deals with Bohr’s promise of providing an atomic foundation of chemistry, including an explanation of molecules and the periodic system.

Keywords: Niels Bohr; electron theory of metals; Rutherford; Manchester; molecules; periodic system; atomic chemistry

Chapter.  25082 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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