Welcome to practical physicsPracticle physics - practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11 to 19 year olds

Model of the atom

At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were still some sceptics who were not convinced of the existence of atoms. Since the discovery of radioactivity, physicists have been probing and smashing atoms. They have devised and developed theories to try to describe their structure and explain their behaviour.

In this collection, you can give students a glimpse of some of the groundbreaking experiments that have changed the way that physicists have thought about atoms and the particles inside them. If you follow the experiments in the order below, students will be taken from Rutherford’s first suggestion of a nucleus through to a model based on the wave behaviour of electrons.


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