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the piece of machinery which we call the sodium molecule


These experiments show in a striking manner the complexity of the piece of machinery which we will call the sodium molecule. Professor Rowland once said that a molecule is much more complicated than a piano. In most cases, all that we have been able to do is to strike the entire keyboard at once, but in the case of sodium it seems possible to strike one key at a time. A study of the fluorescent spectra of other vapours will doubtless do much to clear up the mystery of the mechanism of molecular radiation.
(p525, penultimate paragraph)

(possibly) Plate VII, illustrating R. W. Wood, The Fluorescence of Sodium Vapour and the Resonance Radiation of Electrons. The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, vol. X.— Sixth Series (July-December 1905) : 513-525

R. W. Wood (1868-1955) was a physicist and inventor, noted for his work in infrared and ultraviolet spectra; he wrote two science fiction novels, and wrote and illustrated two books of children’s verse.*

30 November 2012
tags: machines; molecules; spectra; R. W. Wood