Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz expands and modifies James Clerk Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism to develop his own electron theory, which would in turn serve as a foundation for Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
French physicist Pierre Curie defends his thesis on magnetism, which includes his experimental findings regarding the effect of temperature on paramagnetism and states what is now known as Curie's law.
Pieter Zeeman, a student of Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz, demonstrates that a magnetic field can split the spectral line of a light source into multiple components with different frequencies (the Zeeman effect).
J.J. Thomson carries out several experiments that lead him to conclude that cathode rays consist of a stream of negatively charged particles much smaller than an atom, dispelling the long-held belief that the atom was indivisible.
German physicist Karl Braun invents the cathode-ray oscilloscope, a means of visibly displaying graphical representations of electromagnetic signals. The cathode ray tube that the device contains eventually evolves into other types of electronic displays, including the receiving screen of the television.
Ernest Rutherford, a physicist from New Zealand, determines that the rays that Becquerel discovered to be emitted from uranium (1896) are composed of two discrete forms of radiation, which he terms alpha rays and beta rays.