The first scientific experiment that indicated the existence of atoms was performed by John Dalton during the 1800s. These early experiments did not yield information regarding the atom's structure. The structure of atoms was first explained through the discovery of electrons in 1897 by the physicist J. J. Thompson.
The philosophical idea of an atom was developed by the Greek philosopher Democritus in 460 B.C. The idea of an atom was a result of a question pertaining to the limits of the division of matter. This idea was later dismissed by Aristotle and therefore given no merit by Greek philosophers or individuals.