It has been supposed that certain electrons revolve like satellites in orbits around the atoms with which they are associated, a view which receives strong support from the phenomena of the Zeeman effect, and on this assumption a theory has been worked out by P. Langevin, 2 which accounts for many, of the observed facts of magnetism.
The modification of the spectrum of a radiating gas by a magnetic field, such as would result from the hypothesis that the radiators are the system of revolving or oscillating electrons in the molecule, was detected by P. Zeeman in 1896, and worked up, in conjunction with H.
While it cannot be said that the full significance of this very definite phenomenon, consisting of the splitting of the spectral line into a number of polarized components, has yet been made out, a wide field of correlation with optical theory, especially in the neighbourhood of absorption bands, has been developed by Zeeman himself, by A.
The change of frequency of oscillation of radiating molecules placed in a magnetic field, which was discovered by P. Zeeman, and the observed polarization of the components, are all beautifully explained by the theory of H.
The component lines of a band spectrum do not as a rule give the Zeeman effect, and this seems to be connected with their freedom from pressure shifts, for when Dufour had shown that the bands of the fluoride of calcium were sensitive to the magnetic field, R.
This subject is treated in the article Magneto-Optics, to which the reader is also referred for John Kerr's discovery of the effect on polarization produced by reflection from a magnetic pole, and for the action of a magnetic field on the radiation of a source - the "Zeeman effect."