Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
interference effects owing to the wavelike nature of a beam of electrons when passing near matter. According to the proposal (1924) of the French physicist Louis de Broglie, electrons and other particles have wavelengths that are inversely proportional to their momentum. Consequently, high-speed electrons have short wavelengths, a range of which are comparable to the spacings between atomic layers in crystals. A beam of such high-speed electrons should undergo diffraction, a characteristic wave effect, when directed through thin sheets of material or when reflected from the faces of crystals. Electron diffraction, in fact, was observed (1927) by C.J. Davisson and L.H. Germer in New York and by G.P. Thomson in Aberdeen, Scot. The wavelike nature of electron beams was thereby experimentally established, thus supporting an underlying principle of quantum mechanics.