See Inside Scientific American Volume 306, Issue 6

Happy Birthday, Electron

Lorentz's electron theory of 1892 bridges classical and modern physics

Lorentz’s electron theory, though eventually superseded in detail, was pivotal. By recognizing the right answers and posing the right questions, he readied the path to relativity, quantum theory and the physics of today. Near the end of his own life, Albert Einstein penned Lorentz a memorable tribute: “For me personally he meant more than all the others I have met on my life’s journey.”

This article was published in print as "Happy Birthday, Electron."

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