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Physical Science

J.J. Thomson

John Dalton
J.J. Thomson

  • In what country or countries did the scientist live and work?

J.J. Thomson was born and went to school in Manchester. His mathematics professor suggested that he apply for a scholarship at Trinity College, one of the most prestigious of the colleges at Cambridge University. Thomson won the scholarship, and in 1880 finished second in his class (behind Joseph Larmor) in the grueling graduation examination in mathematics. Trinity gave him a fellowship and he stayed on there, trying to craft mathematical models that would reveal the nature of atoms and electromagnetic forces.

  • When was the Scientist born? If no longer living, when did he or she die?

Joseph John Thomson was born on December 18, 1856 near Manchester, England and died August 30, 1940.

  • What area or areas of science did the scientist study?

He specialized in atoms and electromagnets

  • Summarizing the Scientists contribution to the atomic theory

Of all the physicists associated with determining the structure of the atom, Thomson remained most closely aligned to the chemical community because his non-mathematical atomic theory—unlike early quantum theory—could also be used to account for chemical bonding and molecular structure.


Matthew J. Stevenson
Physical Science
May 10, 2005
Mr. Syron