Unheard Stories of the Atomic Theory

Timeline created by JTYS18
  • -600 BCE

    Acharya Kanad

    Acharya Kanad
    Acharya Kanad was born in 600 BC in Prabhas Kshetra in India. Fascinated by the idea of the smallest particle, he would record and organize his thoughts. His thoughts emerged into the theory that there is an invisible matter called Parmanu that cannot be divided further. He also theorized that Parmanu naturally combines with another, which forms a dwinuka. Since before Christ, Indian and Greek scholars have argued for centuries on who first developed the principle idea of an atom.
  • Hantaro Nagaoka

    Hantaro Nagaoka
    Before Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the nucleus in 1911, Nagaoka realized that J. J. Thompson’s plum pudding model is inherently unstable due to the attracting forces between the protons and the electrons. Thus, he was the first to propose a model of the atom that contained a small nucleus surrounded by a ring of electrons in 1903. However, because it was purely theoretical conjecture, the credit for the discovery of the nucleus has always been on Ernest Rutherford.
  • Lise Meitner

    Lise Meitner
    Lise Meitner's revolutionary work in nuclear physics led to the introduction of the idea of nuclear fission, defying the original ideas of the atomic theory. After moving to Berlin in 1907, Meitner collaborated with chemist Otto Hahn for decades. Unfortunately, Hahn published their findings without including Meitner as a co-author. He went on to win the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his contributions to splitting the atom while leaving Meitner with minimal recognition in her remarkable work.
  • William Francis Giauque

    William Francis Giauque
    Giauque was born in Niagara Falls in 1895. His research focused on the third law of thermodynamics, pushing to reach absolute zero. From 1924 to 1933, he developed a new magnetic refrigeration technique to chill atoms to within 0.25K, or -272.9 Celsius. Unfortunately, his research was often stopped short by the ill-equipped labs in Berkeley, therefore, his true potential was never achieved and recognized.
  • Hertha Sponer

    Hertha Sponer
    Sponer greatly contributed to the atomic theory with her work on molecular spectra. She developed an equation that enabled the calculation of the dissociation energy of a molecule from its vibrational spectrum. Sadly, as a female chemist, she later lost her position in the scientific realm due to Nazi's systemic discrimination.
  • George Warren Reed

    George Warren Reed
    During World War II, Reed worked on the Manhattan Project at the Chicago Met Lab. He was revolutionary in his primary research in fission yields of uranium and thorium to determine their viability for a nuclear chain reaction, fundamentally challenging the original atomic theory, which stated that atoms cannot be split. Unfortunately, due to discrimination, his accomplishments have been swallowed by his fellow white colleagues in his contribution to the success of the Manhattan Project.
  • Maria Goeppert Mayer

    Maria Goeppert Mayer
    Fighting through adversity, Goeppert Mayer persevered through discrimination throughout her life. In August 1948, she published her first paper detailing the evidence for the nuclear shell model. Her model successfully explained many properties of atomic nuclei, including the stability of different isotopes. Fortunately, she was finally recognized in her research when she won the Nobel Prize in 1963.
  • Kenichi Fukui

    Kenichi Fukui
    Kenichi Fukui was born on October 4, 1918, in Nara, Japan. His love for sciences expanded after reading the works of quantum mechanics and the famous Schrödinger's equation. He is also the first Asian recipient of the Nobel prize for chemistry. His work mainly revolved around the idea of frontier orbitals and their roles in chemical reactions. He has carefully examined the trends of the loosely bonded electrons that exist in these frontier orbitals and their effects on chemical changes.
  • Rudolph A. Marcus

    Rudolph A. Marcus
    Born in Quebec, Rudolph Arthur Marcus started his research life at McGill University. There, he developed theories on how atoms could swap electrons, and how this electron transfer was responsible for chemical reactions. Now, his research in these specific reactions are called REDOX reactions.
  • Charlotte Froese Fischer

    Charlotte Froese Fischer
    Fischer has published over three hundred mathematical journals, including significant contributions to atomic theory. She studied the atomic structure of molecules using the Multi-Configurational Hartree–Fock approach, which she had developed. Although it is deemed extremely complicated, it has played a key role in the development of quantum chemistry.
  • Inga Fischer-Hjalmars

    Inga Fischer-Hjalmars
    Inga Fischer-Hjalmars was unique in her philosophy of science, focusing on “humane developments in science.” Her work stands at the core of quantum chemistry to this day. Fischer-Hjalmar’s work involved the critical analysis of contemporary methods which allowed solutions to be found in Schrödinger’s equation for molecules. This in essence, was the core of quantum chemistry.
  • Robert J. LeRoy

    Robert J. LeRoy
    Rober LeRoy often sums up his works as the study of an atom’s sex life. The Leroy-Bernstein theory, also called the Near Dissociation Theory, states that if molecules were in high vibrational levels lying very close to dissociation, their properties depended mainly on the long-range part of the intermolecular potential energy. The LeRoy Radius is connected to his theory, as it defines the internuclear distance between two atoms at which LeRoy-Bernstein theory becomes valid.
  • Ronald Gillespie

    Ronald Gillespie
    Ronald Gillespie is best known for his development of Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR). The VSEPR is a set of rules that determine the geometric shape of a molecule, based on what molecule it is.