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|Topic: Dr. Abram's Electron Theory
William F. Hudgings
Section: Part IX, Valence
Table of Contents to this Topic
| Silicon, next to aluminium, has four electrons in its outer
shell; that is the shell is exactly half full. Therefore there are two
equally feasible ways for this atom to secure satisfaction. It may
either take on four electrons and thus fill its outer shell, or it may
relinquish four and thus drop back to a two-shell system like neon.
And, singularly enough, silicon is found by experiment to be in just
such a quandary; it will react either electropositively or
electronegatively with equal ease. It is therefore said to be an
amphoteric system. As for the next three types however (phosphorus,
sulphur and chlorine), the valence changes from positive to negative,
and they are found to have a negative valence of three, two and one
respectively. Inasmuch as they are approaching completion of their
outer shell it is obvious that the easiest way for them to become
satisfied is to take on rather than to give away, electrons Thus the
behavior of all atoms is accounted for by the concentric shell
arrangement of the planetary electrons. This same graduation of valence
that exists in the systems between neon and argon, just considered, is
also found to exist between every two consecutive inert systems.
WHAT CAUSES RADIOACTIVITY?
Having examined into the internal structure of the atom we are now prepared to understand the underlying causes of radioactivity and of radiant energy in general. What is this strange phenomenon so manifest in radium and certain other heavy atoms? And is all matter radioactive? Answering the latter question first: there can be little doubt but that all matter is radioactive to some extent although it is more pronounced in those "elements" of high atomic weight. It is only in the latter atomic systems that we find the radiations sufficiently intense to make visible impressions on photographic plates or on phosphorescent screens, yet there are other experiments that do reveal the emanation of energy from ordinary matter. This is well demonstrated by Abrams' reactions.
It was discovered many years ago that the "leakage" from a charged electroscope is more rapid than can be accounted for by allowance for imperfections of the apparatus and other known causes. It is therefore believed that fully 70 percent of this leakage is due to radioactivity from the ordinary materials used in the construction of the instrument itself, which tends to neutralize the outside charge upon the electroscope proper. By screening the electroscope from stray radiations from the outside about 30 percent of the neutralization is eliminated. But no amount of screening seems to further reduce it, thereby indicating that the major cause lies within rather than without the instrument. Furthermore it is found that different degrees of neutralization or "leakage" are produced by different substances used in the lining of the electroscope.
Metals of all kinds are found to ionize the air molecules in their immediate neighborhood, each in a characteristic or specific amount. This is a further experimental corroboration of the theory that radioactivity is a property common to all matter; that it is as likely to be displayed by one type of atom as another if the conditions are similar, but as already noted it will differ in amount or intensity according to the massiveness of the atom and certain other internal peculiarities. While one gram of radium emits about 37 billion alpha particles per second, it is probable that an equal quantity of some lighter substance would emit only a few thousand or a few hundred per second, and would therefore be unobservable by any ordinary methods. Yet Dr. W. H. Russell, while experimenting with radium emanations, also noted faint photographic influences produced by common materials; again suggesting that radioactivity is a general property of matter. Although this latter experiment is otherwise explained, it is nevertheless admitted that this spontaneous photographic power of ordinary substances has puzzling aspects about it so long as actual radioactive emanations from their atoms is denied.
Why should any substance continuously emit energy? What mechanism is there in matter that produces this phenomenon? Radioactivity, especially in those atoms of high atomic weight, is explained as being the result of internal convulsions in certain of its atoms. In the crowding of the electronic orbits, due to molecular contractions and other causes, dissatisfaction and consequently instability of certain atoms must of necessity occur. If an atomic system becomes dissatisfied in its nucleus then eruption of alpha particles and electrons forthwith takes place in the effort of the atom to regain its equilibrium. Often these eruptions are such as to cause the explosion of the entire atom.
This disintegrating process is what is constantly taking place in any highly radioactive substance such as radium which emits billions of particles per second from each gram. However enormous this number of atomic explosions per second appears, yet when we consider the total number of atoms in a gram then the number that erupt are actually few, so few in fact that it would take nearly two thousand years for all of them to explode, even if they kept up this rate constantly. Numerically speaking, therefore, the eruption of a dissatisfied atom is a "rare" occurrence, analogous to an occasional shooting comet among a thousand million heavenly spheres, yet we are accustomed to thinking of them as excessively numerous simply because we forget to view them relative to their setting. If only ten drops of water should ooze out every minute from a reservoir which contains millions of barrels we could consider the leakage insignificant. The outflow per minute of positive and negative particles from a single gram of radium as likewise insignificant when considered in relation to the grand total in the "reservoir." The experiments of Rutherford and Gelber with alpha emanations from polonium demonstrated that those eruptions, both in respect to time and place, simply obey the law of chance. Nevertheless they are sufficiently constant to appear to the ordinary observer as though they were governed by some inner economy which doles them out forever at a given rate.
When convulsive ejections of the swiftly moving electrons or beta particles occur, a disturbance is caused in the surrounding atoms and in the atomic and molecular systems through which they pass as they make their exit. The result is, as maintained by Prof. Bohr, that various atoms suffer a temporary change in the dimensions of their electronic orbits. Now as these disturbed orbits move back to normal, energy is necessarily given out. Gamma rays are an example of this form of radiant energy. They carry no charge and are therefore not composed of electrons or protons, yet they carry definite quanta of energy in exact ratio to the disturbance which generates them. Similarly when an outside disturbance such as an electric current or a beam of light falls upon any substance, the electrons orbits of the surface atoms of that substance are affected; and in the adjusting process there is an expenditure and outflow of energy which we specify by the general term radiation.
Planck, in 1901, found that all radiation, whether light, heat or otherwise, is given out in quanta, i. e., in amounts which are invariably proportional to the "wave length" or frequency of the disturbing cause. He put the matter upon a definite mathematical basis, and the universal numerical ratio which he discovered to exist is called "Planck's Constant". It is found to hold good for all cases irrespective of the wave length causing the radiation. Some radiations of energy are so small in quanta that they escape experimental detection. Nevertheless such a faint radiation as that caused by an ordinary candle three miles away will produce a visible effect upon a photographic plate.
Gama rays, X-rays, radio waves and any light or heat rays are all related phenomena, being kindred manifestations of energy emissions from disturbed electronic orbits. The only difference between them is in the frequency of vibration. The frequency of the radiation is determined by the frequency (not the amount) of the disturbing factor. Thus if we permit a strong light, then a dim light, both of the same frequency, to fall upon any given surface, the electronic orbits of the surface atoms will be affected to the same extent in each case. The strong light will affect more atoms than will the dim light, but it will not disturb any individual atom any more than will the dim ray of the same frequency. Each atom will radiate the same quantum of energy in both instances.
If the frequency is increased, however, then the quantum of radiant energy will be larger, although the ratio between the two remains constant. Thus a dim light of high frequency will produce a greater amount of radiation per atom than will a strong light of lower frequency, although the sum total of radiation in the latter case may be greater due to the fact that more atoms are engaged in the radiating process. It is like fifty 25-watt incandescent lamps as against a thousand 10-watt lights. The latter aggregation will give more illumination, but no individual lamp in it shines as brightly as does a single 25-watt bulb. It is not the quantity but the quality (i.e., the frequency) of the disturbing element that determines the amount of contraction or expansion of the orbits of the planetary electrons in any atomic system, as Planck clearly demonstrated. His "quantum theory" was not readily embraced by scientists in 1901 due to the generally limited knowledge of atomic structures at that early date. The Plank constant, however, was later resurrected by Einstein and employed by him in calculating the specific heat of solids with such remarkable success that its accuracy is now no longer questioned.
The acceptance of the quantum theory of energy, however, necessitates a radical reconstruction, if not a complete repudiation of the ether theory. Instead of radiation being regarded as pulsations or wave motion in an ethereal medium, similar to waves in water, Planck holds that it consists of infinitesimal bundles of energy which are shot out in all directions, each carrying exactly the same amount so long as the source is being excited at a definite frequency. There are, of course, difficulties involved with the theory, even as there are many unsolved problems confronting the champions of the older ether theory; yet the former has so satisfactory accounted for the hitherto inexplainable phenomena of radiations that modern scientific consensus of opinion is leaning rapidly toward the quantum and away from the ether hypothesis. There is no doubt, of course that radiant energy travels in a wave-like manner, because interference can be produced in the same manner as interference of waves in water. But this wave motion may be confined to the quantum itself rather than being a phenomenon of the hypothetical ether. Certainly no experiment thus far undertaken has actually demonstrated that "ether" exists, and if all known phenomena can be accounted for apart from it, then we are probably on safer ground when we ignore it altogether.
Having now examined into the fundamental basis of material atoms, and seeing how completely wonderful are their electronic mechanisms, we are the better prepared to appreciate the electronic reactions of Abrams as outlined in the first part of this book. That which at first may have appeared fantastically well founded.
It must also be remembered that while our present treatise on the electron theory has been confined to atoms of inorganic matter, Dr. Abrams' researches concern the still more intricate problem of living organism. There is a difference between the atoms of organic and inorganic matter, but just what that difference consists of no scientist yet knows. He must content himself with the mere descriptive distinction that the one has life while the other has not.
What is life? That is the great problem that is still unsolved. To declare that life is energy is entirely too indefinite, because all kinds of atoms, organic or inorganic, possess energy, as we have seen. The chemist can analyze living organism; he can determine the elements of which it is composed, and can specify the atomic proportion of each to the molecule. Yet when they are put together by the hand of man the combination, -- though chemically correct, lacks life; it is but inorganic. Considering, then, the electronic intricacies of living organism, who can afford to blindly contend that the electronic reactions of Abrams are the products of imagination? It is inexcusable folly to say "it can't be done" when it has been done and is being done every day by a thousand physicians.
Nearly every, advance in knowledge has been brought about by the sheer aggressiveness of somebody who has dared to depart from the beaten path of ages and plunge deteminedly into the wilderness of the unknown. Dr. Albert Abrams has enlarged the horizon of physical science; he has thrown new light upon the subject of atomic mechanism; he has broken entirely new ground in the field of nature and has opened wide a door to undreamed of possibilities. It is plainly the duty of every true scientist to now find in further uncovering the long hidden treasures of this infinitesimal world of electrons of which we are made and which he has brought into prominent view.