Johann Jakob Balmer discovered formula for development of atomic theory

Johann Jakob Balmer – discoverer of Balmer formula

Johann Jakob Balmer

Biography & Contributions

Johann Jakob Balmer was a Swiss mathematician and mathematical physicist born on May 01, 1825 – died on March 12, 1898. Balmer was the discoverer of balmer formula.

He discovered a formula basic to the development of atomic theory. In 1885 Balmer announced a simple formula representing the wavelengths of the spectral lines of hydrogen - the Balmer series.

Balmer Series

Balmer series or Balmer lines in atomic physics is the designation of one of a set of six named series describing the spectral line emissions of the hydrogen atom. The Balmer series is calculated using the Balmer formula, an empirical equation discovered by Johann Balmer in 1885. The Balmer series is characterized by the electron transitioning from n ≥ 3 to n = 2, where n refers to the radial quantum number or principal quantum number of the electron.

Balmer noticed that a single number i.e., 364.50682 nm had a relation to every line in the hydrogen spectrum that was in the visible light region. By this formula, he was able to show that certain measurements of lines made in his time by spectroscopy were slightly inaccurate and his formula predicted lines that were later found although had not yet been observed. His number also proved to be the limit of the series.

The Balmer series is particularly useful in astronomy because the Balmer lines appear in numerous stellar objects due to the abundance of hydrogen in the universe and therefore are commonly seen and relatively strong compared to lines from other elements.

Balmer lines can appear as absorption or emission lines in a spectrum, depending on the nature of the object observed. In stars, the Balmer lines are usually seen in absorption, and they are "strongest" in stars with a surface temperature of about 10,000 Kelvin.

To contact the author mail:

© WOC Article uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X