Page:The atomic theory (1914).djvu/35

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31
The Atomic Theory

be more than a certain number of electrons in any one layer. Consider how the atom will change as we gradually increase its population of electrons; the number in the outer layer will at first increase, but when it has reached the critical number no more can be added to it; any new added to the atom will now begin to form a new outer layer, the old outer layer becoming an inner one. With the addition of more electrons the same process will be repeated; the new outer layer will absorb electrons until it becomes too crowded, when a new outer layer will split off, and the process be repeated.

The theory of the way in which a number of electrons arrange themselves suggests that the electrons in the atom are divided up into a series of rings, one outside the other. This has been confirmed by experiment, for the discovery by Professor Barkla of the characteristic Röntgen radiation has already enabled us to detect two of these rings in the atoms of the heavier elements and one in those of the lighter. He showed that when submitted to appropriate treatment, each atom gives out special kinds of Röntgen rays; thus a platinum atom gives out one kind of ray, a silver atom another, with a longer wave length than the platinum one. Now the properties of the hardest rays given out by the different elements are connected in a very simple way with the atomic weight; thus Mr. Whiddington showed that the speed of the slowest cathode particle which could excite these rays is proportional to the atomic weight, and Mr. Moseley has shown that the frequency of the vibration is proportional to the square of the atomic number; as this number is roughly proportional to the atomic weight, the one relation would follow from the other by Planck's law. This simple connexion with the atomic weight shows that these rays arise from similar parts of the atom, and