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Modeling the pre modern atom

  1. Oct 8, 2014 #1
    In my studies, I find myself coming back to the same question.How do we know all these things about matter. Its quantized, it has mass and, charge and blah blah blah. I understand that these models of the building blocks of "physical things" are well tested mathematical models that attempt to make sense of the data we have about material interactions and also make sense of thousands of experiments that were designed to test the limit of the applicability of the model at that time.
    But where can I find some actual, well laid out explanations about the history of the development of the model? I'm going to be doing modern physics next semester which I'm being told is more so a study of the tools needed to talk about the quantum model than the actual development towards the quantum model. My electricity and magnetism class is building tools to discuss point charge interactions without discussing any of the evidence for the attractive\repulsive point charge model. I want my evidence darn it!
    So I ask you well read contributed, do you know of any good material on the historical development of the introductory mathematical models of matter we use as physicists?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    A nice and easy to follow introduction can be found in the book Atoms, Molecules and Photons by Demtröder (Springer), which has a chapter on "The Concept of the Atom."
  4. Oct 8, 2014 #3
    Very cool. I like the look of this book. Thank you Drclaude.
  5. Oct 12, 2014 #4
    Malcolm Longair has a chapter in his book Theoretical Concepts in Physics, discussing black body radiation which led Planck to introduce h-bar. Planck's arguments span Electromagnetics, Statitsical Mechanics and Thermodynamics and really show how physics is one whole-ness rather than a collection of different disciplines. It is good reading
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