Developing models of atoms

Niels Bohr adapted Ernest Rutherford's nuclear model. Bohr did calculations that led him to suggest that electrons orbit the nucleus in shells. The shells are at certain distances from the nucleus. The calculations agreed with observations from experiments.

Carbon atom with the nucleus and an electron labelledThe nuclear model of the atom, showing electrons in shells

Further experiments led to the idea that the nucleus contained small particles, called protons. Each proton has a small amount of positive charge.

In 1932 James Chadwick found evidence for the existence of particles in the nucleus with mass but no charge. These particles are called neutrons. This led to another development of the atomic model, which is still used today.