Models Of The Atoms

Scientists use models to describe and represent the atom. There are several models of the atom to form a concrete or mental picture of what an atom looks like. One model developed by Niels Bohr in 1913 illustrates the atom as having a central nucleus with electrons orbiting

Electrostatic Force of an Atom

Electrostatic Force of an Atom

Electrostatic Lines of Force

Figure 2.1 Atom diagram. (Courtesy of Jeff Dixon)

around it. In the 1920s scientists improved on the model of the atom. One theory is that the electrons move about in a cloud-like region surrounding the nucleus. The electron cloud represents some probable locations of where the electrons are likely to be at a set time.

These models should not be interpreted as any visual representation of an atomic model or as a recreation of an actual atom. The best models are those that are purely mathematical. However, the atomic model images do help as a guide in understanding concepts in chemistry and other sciences.

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