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Unformatted text preview: Instead, he continued to push ahead with advances on Rutherford's model of the atom. The fundamental difficulty he encountered was that Rutherford's model proved unstable by classical standards. According to Newtonian mechanics, the orbiting electron should lose energy as it gave off radiation and eventually collapse into the nucleus. Such a picture of course contradicted the stable physical reality of the observable world. Earlier in the century, scientists like Planck and Einstein had already begun to show the limitations of classical physics in its picture of radiation and light. Through extensive calculations they proved that thermal radiation and light are not continuous. Instead, they are made up of individual packets of energy, which they named "quanta." This radical picture of matter unsettled the scientific community and was accepted only gradually, but Bohr saw its relevance to the atomic world, which seemed to require a...
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- Fall '08