By H. A. Lorentz (auth.)
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Extra info for Collected Papers: Volume VIII
HOW CAN ATOMS RADIATE? 4-'-- I where it = 3, 1416; N is the numberof molecules per unit of volume, J.. the wavelength of the light and 11- the index of refraction. The equation has been verified by accurate measurement of the extinction in gaseous media, and the values of N to which it Ieads are in good agreement with the results obtained in other ways. But I most now call your attention to the deficiencies of the old theory. One of its worst failures was that it could not account for the structure of spectra, I mean to say, for the regularity in the spectra which shows itself in the numerical relations between the frequencies of the lines.
On the other hand, the last of the theories on my Iist, tries again to give us a picture of the mechanism of radiation. It was originated by LOUIS DE BROGLIE, who, some years ago, made an ingenious attempt somewhat better to understand BoHR's quantum condition. According to his views the motion of the electron in a circle is accompanied by a progression of some kind of waves along that line. The frequency of these waves is the one that corresponds to the energy which we attribute to the electron, and the waves are supposed to have a certain velocity, not equal to that of the electron, but closely connected with it, the relation between the two velocities being as could be reasonably expected.
If we distinguish corpusdes of such a great mass from the smaller electrons by calling them "ions" we can say that there arepositive as well as negative ions, but only negative electrons. All this has lead to the idea that positive electricity is always indissolubly attached to matter; that which can move inde- POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ELECTRICITY 51 pendently with respect to material particles is the negative electricity and then it always occurs as electrons. It is certainly remarkable that this conception brings us back to the old theory of FRANKLIN according to which there exists only one electricity or electric fluid.