Updated: 7/24/2020
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  • From 1814 to 1819, Irish chemist William Higgins claimed that I had plagiarised his ideas, but Higgins' theory did not address relative atomic mass. However, recent evidence suggests that my development of thought may have been influenced by the ideas of another Irish chemist Bryan Higgins, who was William's uncle. Bryan believed that an atom was a heavy central particle surrounded by an atmosphere of caloric, the supposed substance of heat at the time. The size of the atom was determined by the diameter of the caloric atmosphere. Based on the evidence, I was aware of Bryan's theory and adopted very similar ideas and language, but he never acknowledged Bryan's anticipation of his caloric model. However, the essential novelty of my atomic theory is that he provided a method of calculating relative atomic weights for the chemical elements, something that neither Bryan nor William Higgins did; his priority for that crucial step is uncontested.
  • Hi i'm Thomson and id like to explain why i thought that Dalton's theory was wrong!
  • In 1897, English physicist J. J. Thomson (me) (1856–1940) disproved Dalton's idea that atoms are indivisible. When elements were excited by an electrical current, atoms break down into two parts. One of those parts is a negative tiny particle, which I called a corpuscle in 1881. The term electron was introduced in 1891 by G. Johnstone Stoney (1826-1911) as a way to describe a “natural unit of electricity.” I envisioned these negative charges embedded into positive charges, like an English plum pudding. The plums were the electrons and the pudding was the positive matter. However my idea of an atom did not survive very long.
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