Thomson, Sir J. J.
Mechanics / Electrodynamics
The theory considered in this paper —that the electric field is made up of a number of discrete units— is one which naturally suggests itself, if we use the conception of tubes of electric force for representing that state of the electric field. I have in several papers and also in my ‘Recent Researches on Electricity and Magnetism,’ and in ‘Electricity and Matter,’ shown how the phenomena of the electric field can be regarded as the method of working of a mechanical system, the parts of which are the tubes of electric force, which on this view are endowed with mass, momentum, and energy. The properties of the tubes of force are determined by the charge at their ends, hence if that charge is the charge carried by a corpuscle, or a particle in the Canalstrahlen, which as far as we know is incapable of further sub-division, the corresponding tube of force will be incapable of further subdivision and will form a natural unit.