Illustration of Parson magneton

1915 Parson magneton

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Alfred Lauck Parson electromagnetism Illustration of Parson magneton

Parson magneton

Alfred Lauck Parson improved the Bohr model by adding particles that can emit and absorb electromagnetic radiation. Parson broke up Bohrs orbiting electron into a host of infinitesimal charge elements that circulated in a stable toroidal ring. Parson’s electrons and protons were both made of bundles of fibers that twist about the toroid like a Slinky.


One question is whether the electron is point-like. If an electron has no substructure, can it have a spin and an electron magnetic dipole moment? Well, it’s easier to imagine tiny donuts, although it’s more point-like than we can measure, and it still has a spin and a magnetic moment.

Defying logic

Logic would show an electron orbits its nucleus like a planet orbits its star. While I’m at it, logic should also show happiness is attainable, democracy governs best, and might never makes right. Logic will never show why people prefer the evil they know.

The Standard Model of particle physics has settled the controversies and rendered the Parson model obsolete, although the Parson model helped explain mass and alpha scattering, and it inspired Gilbert N. Lewis in developing his theory of chemical bonding, in which electrons are shared between atoms.

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