The magnetic cleavage of the spectral lines is dependent on the size of the charge of the electron, or, more accurately, on the ratio between the mass and the charge of the electron.
It was not simply out of a spirit of contradiction that I exposed a light source to magnetic forces. The idea came to me during an investigation of the effect discovered by Kerr on light reflected by magnetic mirrors.
The rotation of the polarization plane is extraordinarily small in all gases, thus also in sodium vapour.
According to well-known electrodynamic laws, an electron moving in a magnetic field is acted upon by a force which runs perpendicular to the direction of motion of the electron and to the direction of the magnetic field, and whose magnitude is easily determined.
I count myself fortunate to be able to contribute to this work; and the great interest which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has shown in my work and the recognition that it has paid to my past successes, convince me that I am not on the wrong track.
Moreover, photography has made it possible to fix these images and now provides us with a permanent record of each observed spectrum, which can be measured out at any time.
On the basis of Lorentz's theory, if we limit ourselves to a single spectral line, it suffices to assume that each atom (or molecule) contains a single moving electron.
Nature gives us all, including Prof. Lorentz, surprises. It was very quickly found that there are many exceptions to the rule of splitting of the lines only into triplets.
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