Science: Physics for Moderns

Before a beginners' physics class at St. Louis' Washington University, Assistant Professor Edward Lambe plugged in an electric device that shot pennies at a metal disk a few feet away. The pennies scattered off the disk in a significant pattern, but Lambe was not using them to demonstrate the elasticity of metals, Newton's laws of motion, or anything else in classical physics. His penny routine was part of a discussion of what happens when alpha particles (helium nuclei) are shot at heavy atoms such as gold.

First: the Invisible. Most first-year physics courses start...

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