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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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where nothing happens 'instantaneously', but all action requires 'time'. If we could discover some unit of action, we could change from the language of 'energy' and 'time' to the language of 'action' and 'times'. This language, by the way, is much more satisfactory and structurally closer to experience than the old languages. 'Action' as structurally denned (product of 'energy' by 'time') is one of the two fundamental entities of pre-relativity physics which have survived the Einstein revolution. It is really a universal term which we can apply without danger of degrading science into private gossip. From the neurological standpoint, as it deals with definite units and times, such a term has all the structural earmarks of an abstraction of highest order and of being really semantically important. Energy in space-time must by necessity be reformulated as 'action'. The quantum theory posits structurally that the action of physical processes is built up of a number of elementary quanta of action.
From the fact that electromagnetic waves and light-waves have one velocity, Maxwell concluded that light-waves are of an electromagnetic character, a conclusion which further experiments have fully justified. Einstein, in 1905, successfully applied the quantum structural principle to the theory of light, and in 1907 to the theory of heat of solid bodies.
The evolution of our theories concerning the internal structure of atoms has, until lately, closely followed our astronomical theories, but with the newest quantum mechanics this structural analogy seems less useful. The first atomic model on an electrical basis was proposed by J. J. Thomson. He assumed the atom to consist of a uniformly dense spherical volume charge of positive electricity, within which electrons described circular orbits. But the discovery of radioactivity and the fact that the alpha-rays could pass through several centimetres of atoms (which means penetrating through many thousands of atoms), without their direction being altered made these assumptions structurally untenable.
The Wilson photographs (Fig. 2) show clearly that a single atom can deflect the alpha-particle by a large angle which makes it clear that the nucleus of an atom must be considered as a very small part of the volume of the atom. The large deflections of the alpha-particles show also that the mass of the nucleus must be much larger than the mass of the deflected particles. Observations show also that the deflections increase with the atomic weight of the deflecting materials. These and similar facts led to the structural assumption that the mass of the atom is principally concentrated in the nucleus and that the mass of the electrons must be very small in comparison with that of the nucleus.
As the atoms are in general electrically neutral, we had to assume that the positive charges of the nucleus are compensated by the negative charges of the