The Corpuscular Theory of Matter.
Thomson, J.J.

London: Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd., 1907. First edition. Former owner’s ink signature, one gathering sprung. A very good, bright copy. Dark blue cloth with spine stamped in gilt and front cover in blind. Octavo. [viii], 172 pp. (Item ID: 7897)


This is an expansion of a course of lectures given by Thomson (1856-1940) at the Royal Institution in 1906, the year he was awarded the Nobel Prize. It contains a description of the properties of electrons and their application to the explanation of various physical phenomena. “In 1897 Thomson destroyed the concept of the atom as the base of the physical world by announcing that cathode rays were composed of negatively charged sub-atomic particles (later named “electrons”) with a very large ratio of charge to mass, a ratio which was later determined to exceed that of hydrogen by a factor of 1,000. He also determined that the mass of the particles, which he called “corpuscles,” remained constant whatever their origin, indicating that they represented a universal component of all matter' (Norman).See Printing and the Mind of Man, 386.

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