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The Book of Evidence$
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Peter Achinstein

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195143898

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195143892.001.0001

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Who Really Discovered the Electron?

Who Really Discovered the Electron?

Chapter:
(p.266) 13 Who Really Discovered the Electron?
Source:
The Book of Evidence
Author(s):

Peter Achinstein (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195143892.003.0013

Although J.J. Thomson is credited with the discovery of the electron on the basis of his experiments with cathode rays in 1897, various physicists, including William Crookes, Arthur Schuster, Philipp Lenard, and others, who had also conducted cathode ray experiments claimed that they deserved the credit. This chapter provides a general definition of discovery that can be used to help resolve the question, which, as it turns out, is a complex philosophical and historical one. The relationship between discovery and evidence, as well as what's so important about who discovered the electron, are issues also discussed in the present chapter.

Keywords:   Crookes, discovery, electron, evidence, Lenard, Schuster, scientific discovery, J.J. Thomson, Thomson

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