|William Prout physics
The atomic weights of the first fifty or so elements seemed to be whole number multiples of the atomic weight of hydrogen, so William Prout asked what if hydrogen were the only fundamental atom and other elements were actually groupings of hydrogen? But Prout’s hypothesis couldn’t explain the atomic weight of chlorine, with atomic number 17, 35.45 heavier than hydrogen. They didn’t know about electrons or neutrons. They didn’t know that samples of the elements they measured contained multiple isotopes. But Prout’s hypothesis started a chain of more careful measurements of the atomic weights of elements.
Prout called hydrogen the protyle, the prototype of elements. The hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron. When Ernest Rutherford knocked a proton from a nitrogen atom in 1917, he proposed that all nuclei were composed of hydrogen nuclei and he named it the particle a proton after Prout’s protyle. It wouldn’t be until 1920 that Rutherford proposed that nuclei also include neutrons and that a neutron might be a proton joined by an electron.
In science, a plausible hypothesis is enough to spur progress. A useful error is admired more than a lucky guess. Would that the same be true for buying and selling stocks.