Atomic Structure

An atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The protons are positively charged particles which are located in the middle of the atom. The neutrons have no charge to them, yet they are also located in the nucleus with the protons. The combination of protons and neutrons makes most of the atom's mass which is called the nucleus. However, the electrons travel around the nucleus at the speed of light with a negative charge. The stability of an atom depends on how many electrons are in its lowest levels.
(Beiser, 154)
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History of Atomic Structure

The Atomic structure is dated back to Galileo times but wasn't further advanced until later. A Rutherford experiment of the nucleus was found in 1911 when alpha particles bounced at different angles from a positively charged foil. (Santa Barbara)
Niels Bohr created the Bohr model in England of the atomic structure in 1913; he concluded his theory about an atom's stability concluded how many electrons an atom had, electron rings, and valence electrons. Rutherford andBohr created today's understanding of atomic structure with the introduction ofthe quantum theory.
(Lee and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner)
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Left: Rutherford; Right: Niels Bohr

Application of Atomic Structure

All atoms are uniquely different but the structure remains the same throughout every one of them. The atomic structure helps identify general knowledge of atoms including questions like why and how they react or bond with each other. Atoms create molecules and eventually explains the universe around us so the atomic structure of an atom is the basic part of understand life as science evolves.


  1. Beiser, A. (1988). Physical Science (2nd Edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
  2. "Bohr Model." World of Earth Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 75-76. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 July 2011.
  3. "Rutherford, Ernest." Science in the Early Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005. Credo Reference. Web. 20 July 2011.

This WikiPage developed by Cory Firebaugh - 2011SU