Visible light is just a small part of a much of a much broader spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from radio waves at one end through microwaves, visible light and X Rays to gamma rays at the other end of the spectrum. All of these different and seemingly diverse types of radiation are the various […]

Maxwell’s equations showed the link between electricity and magnetism in space.  A changing electric current produced a magnetic field and a changing magnetic field produced an electric current.  These appear to be related through a pair of constants, permeability and permittivity. Permeability and permittivity appeared to be properties of space itself, but as such they […]

There is a great deal of experimental evidence to support Einstein’s Special Theory of relativity.  One of the more convincing experiments was carried out at CERN in 1977 and involved measuring the lifetimes of particles called muons in an apparatus called the muon storage ring[1].   The muon is an atomic particle which carries an electric […]

James Clerk Maxwell

Up until the 1820’s the only magnets that were known were lodestones and magnets made of iron such as compass needles.  Then in 1820 Hans Christian Oersted was conducting a demonstration of the heating of a wire by means of an electric current.  Coincidentally he also planned a demonstration of the effects of magnetism for […]

One of the most popular film genres of the 20th Century was the Cowboy or Western and one of the most popular themes in western movies was that of the stagecoach. The stagecoach provided movie makers with a powerful metaphor. Outside the environment was hostile, full of Indians or outlaws, hell bent on doing evil […]

William of Occam

The tiny village of Ockham is located about 7 miles north east of the Guildford in southern England. Its history is largely agricultural and it currently boasts a population of just under 400, probably not much different to the Ockham of the middle ages when Ockham was home to its most famous son, William of Occam (mediaeval spelling […]

James Clerk Maxwell was the first person to connect light with other forms of electromagnetic radiation and in so doing he showed that the bandwidth of electromagnetic radiation extends beyond that of just light.   Since then the spectrum has been broadened to include radio waves, microwaves, infra-red, visible light, ultra violet radiation, X-rays and gamma […]

Johannes Rydberg

In Sampling the Hydrogen Atom I introduced the idea that the orbital velocity of the electron is close to light speed and is itself affected by relativity. Derivation of the Rydberg formula based on this model is very straightforward and I think rather elegant. The story starts with Joseph Jakob Balmer (1825-1898) who was a Swiss […]

To date all models for the structure of the atom are based on a hypothesis first put forward by the British physicist John Nicholson in 1911.  Nicholson recognized that the units of Planck’s constant were those of angular momentum and so he reasoned that Planck’s constant was the angular momentum of the electron orbiting the […]

The idea that orbital velocity is affected by relativity is central to the theory presented in Sampling the Hydrogen Atom, so it is perhaps worthwhile examining this idea in a little more detail.  Before doing so however it is necessary to restate that the use of Special Relativity in dealing with objects which have constant […]