He did well and won a scholarship to the Trinity College, Cambridge in England in 1876. Four years later, he graduated second wrangler as a mathematician and subsequently became a fellow of trinity college succeeding Cavendish Professor Raleigh; he became Master of Trinity In 1918. Thomson was an experimentalist, but his hands were regarded by some as clumsy; and his best works was actually preformed by assistants. Nevertheless, he adored and was popular .
Thomson had carried out an excellent mathematical analysis of vortex rings in 1883 and speculation that atoms might be vortex rings in the imagined electromagnetic either led him to investigate cathode rays(the electrical discharge emitted from an electrode under high fields in a gas at low pressure). Several German physicists believed that cathode rays were waves. Hertz tried to show that they could not be particles, because in his experiments the cathode rays were not deflected by an electric field.
However, Thomson repeated the experiment in a vacuum, in which there was no pleasurable air to mask the electric field and demonstrated that electric fields could deflect cathode rays. Having shown that the rays were made up of negatively charged particles, he proceeded to use their combined electric and magnetic fields to find the charge in ass ratio(e/m) of the particles, which did not vary from one cathode material to another. In April 1897, he released this discovery of a new particle.
Developing this classic series of experiments, Thomson then measured the charge by allowing the particles to strike water droplet’s rate of fall in an electric field. He obtained the same value as the charge on a hydrogen atom, but using both results he found a mass for the new particle babul 1,000 times lighter than hydrogen. Shortly afterwards, Thomson particle was named the ‘electron’ by Stones. The succeeded him as Cavendish Professor. His device for measuring elm is essentially the cathode ray sociological, so much used afterwards in both research and in television receivers.
Thomson also examined E. Goldstein positive rays which was obtained when a perforated anode was used in the discharge tube, whose nature depended on the gas in the discharge tube; the cathode rays were the same whatever gas was present Indian 1912, Thomson showed how to use positive rays to separate atoms of different mass. This was done by deflecting the positive rays in electric and magnetic fields (a method now called mass spectrometry). The method allowed him to discover that neon had two isotopes, neon-20 and neon-22 and Gaston then developed the technique.
Thomson received the 1906 Nobel Prize for Physics for his research on conduction through gases. One of his great achievements was to have built up the famous Cavendish Laboratory as the foremost centre in experimental physics, with seven of his research assistants subsequently winning Nobel Prizes an unparalleled distinction. To his great pleasure his son G. P. Thomson, also bagged a Nobel Prize, for demonstrating that the electron possessed both particle-like and wave-like behavior.