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Discuss The Development Of The Bohr Model Of The Atom

Referencing Styles : Chicago | Pages : 1

Niles Henrik Bohr was a Danish physicist born in Copenhagen, Denmark in the year 1885. He is the son of Sir Christian Bohr who was the professor of Physiology in the University of Copenhagen. Neil along with his brother Harald (who was an eminent Professor in Mathematics) grew up under an atmosphere that promoted their scholarly thinking and paved the path of the academic excellence.

After passing the matriculation examination from the Gammelholm Grammar School in the year 1903, Neil Bohr got enrolled under the University of Copenhagen and obtained the Master degree in Physics in the year 1909 and subsequently his doctorate degree in the year 1911.

While he was still a student, the was awarded prize for his extra-ordinary achievement in the experimental and theoretical investigation. He mainly worked over the surface tension of the oscillating fluid jets.

The following studies of Bohr became more theoretical explaining the properties of metals with the help of electron theory. Under this work, Bohr was first confronted with the implications of Planck’s quantum theory of radiation.

During the spring in the year 1912, while he was working in the laboratory of Professor Rutherford in Manchester, Bohr started his work for exploring the radio-active phenomenon. While working under the theoretical work in the absorption of alpha rays, published under the Philosophical Magazine in the year 1913, he made a significant modification in the Rutherford Model by introducing the concept of Quantum theory as later established by Planck.

Quantum mechanics and Quantum physics and the theory of relativity are regarded as the modern subjects in the field of science. However, the very first quantum theory was incorporated by Bohr’s model of an atom or Bohr atomic model as it is popularly known. Bohr prosed his atomic model in the year 1912 and over-rules of Rutherford model. According to Rutherford, in an atom a nucleus is positive charged and it is surrounded by the electrons that are negatively charged particles. The Rutherford stated that electrons move around a predictable paths around the nucleus known as orbits. Bohr said that electrons move round in fixed orbitals around the nucleus known as orbital shells. Bohr also explained that each orbitals or shell have fixed level of energy. Thus it can be said that Rutherford explained that the nucleus of an atom and Bohr gave a detailed perspective of the electrons and their energy levels.

As per the postulations of Bohr atomic model, a small positively charged nucleus is surrounded by the negatively charged electrons revolving around them under fixed orbit. Thus Bohr concluded that electrons will have comparatively more energy if it is located away from the nucleus where has it will have less energy if they stay close to the nucleus.

The basic postulate of Bohr includes:

  • Electrons move round the nucleus under fixed circular paths that are popularly known as orbits or shells or energy levels
  • The orbits are popularly known as stationary orbits

Every circular yet stationary orbit have certain amount of energy and these circular orbits are popularly known as orbital shells. The electrons will fail to radiate their energy as the electrons continue to move around the nucleus under a fixed paths or shells

Different level of energy are highlighted with the help of integers like n = 1, n = 2 ad n= 3 and so one. These integer numbers are known as quantum numbers. The range of quantum number might vary and mainly begin from the lowest energy level. The orbital or shell present close to the nucleus, will have the quantum number  n = 1 and as the distance from the nucleus increases, the integer value will also increase

The different energy numbers or the orbits are illustrated whether by 1, 2, 3 ,4 or with the help of alphabet known as K, L, M, N … shells. The electrons having lowest energy will be donated as the ground state electrons

Bohr explained that the electrons can be moved into different orbits through addition of energy. When the energy is reduced, the electrons return back to the ground state. The energy is reduced by emitting a significant amount of energy known as quantum of light or photon. This was later popularly known as quantum energy.

According to the Bohr model that is also known as the planetary model as the electrons are places as the planets surrounding the sun (here the sun is the nucleus), the electrons encircle the nucleus of the atom under specific paths that is known as orbits. When the electrons are under one of these orbits, the energy is fixed. The ground state is the hydrogen atom is where the energy is lower and the orbits that are far away from the nucleus have greater energy.

In addition to the fresh new amendments made by Bohr over the Rutherford model, Bohr also refined certain elements of the Rutherford model that were complex. These include the problems that are generating from the field of classical mechanics. Classical mechanics stated that electrons will release electromagnetic radiation while moving through the orbital. Due to the loss of the energy, the electrons must have rapidly spiraled inside and collapsing into the nucles. This one sentence in can be said that the Bohr’s model stated that in case of atomic model, the atoms were unstable in nature.

The Rutherford model also stated that electrons are spiraled inwards and their emission rapidly increases in the frequency as the size of the gets smaller. However, the experiments with proper electric discharges during the late 19th century revealed that atoms only emits the electro-magnetic energy and that too at certain discrete frequencies. Bohr said that emission of energy take place under certain defined limit and this is further supported by the Planck’s Quantum Theory.

Bohr model was not useful in predicting the spectra of the larger atoms especially when atoms have multiple electrons The model is also not suitable for the Nobel gas like Helium.


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