By James Jeans

This is often the whole textual content of James Jeans's Rouse Ball Lecture given in 1925 at Cambridge college, and surveys the sector of atomic and subatomic physics within the early days of quantum mechanics, with a short ancient standpoint on dimension.

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A further complication, however, remains. Consider the case of a hypothetical universe containing only two material constituents, a negative electron and a positive proton of equal charge situated at, let us say, a distance of a million light years apart. Does such a universe consist of two free electric charges, or of a hydro- [ 43 ] gen atom, or is it a matter of indifference in which way we regard it? The last alternative can be dismissed at once, for two free charges cannot absorb or emit radiant energy, whereas a hydrogen atom can.

The phenomenon is generally regarded as one of scattering, and Compton has shewn that it admits of a simple explanation in terms of the bullet-theory of radiation. Bullets of radiation are supposed to hit electrons and to glance off at varying angles; part of their energy is imparted to electrons while the remainder passes on as a quantum of diminished energy, and therefore as a bullet of softer radiation. The supposition that the impact [ 57 ] between the bullets of radiation and the electrons conforms to the laws of conservation of energy and momentum leads to the formula SA.

Refers solely to the second atom. If the two atoms are of precisely similar structure, similarly oriented, and describing similar motions, the solution written down gives an average flux of energy equal to zero over a sphere surrounding both systems, so that radiation merely flows from one system to the other. At first the radiation spreads out from the emitting system as though the second system were non-existent, but is gradually drawn in towards this second system and finally concentrates wholly upon it in the form of a convergent wave.

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