Miss Plum Pudding

Weird-looking plum pudding! It resembles a giant fuming conker, or a ready-to-explode sea mine carried by a fierce hostess. Perhaps the illustrator never saw a real Christmas pudding in his Belle-Epoque Germany. Anyway, he preferred to stay anonymous…

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Thomson’s Plum Pudding Model of the atom 1904.

There is a very remote possibility that the illustrator was inspired by the then newly-proposed Plum Pudding Model of the atom by J. J. Thomson. Thomson discovered the electron in 1897. He initially called these mysterious particles corpuscles. In 1904 Thomson, an Englishman suggested that electrons are components of an atom and proposed his Plum Pudding Model: a collection of negatively charged plums (an old word for raisins) immersed in a positively-charged soup, or pudding. This model was discarded and followed by the Rutherford model (1909) and by the Rutherford-Bohr model (1913).

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