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A brief history on Ernest Rutherford...
Ernst Rutherford
Ernst Rutherford

  • He was born on August 30, 1871, in Nelson, New Zealand, the fourth child of twelve. Until the age of 16, he had an early education in Government schooling. He died in Cambridge on October 19, 1937. His ashes were buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey, just west of Sir Isaac Newton's tomb and by that of Lord Kelvin.

  • At the age of 16, he enrolled in the Nelson Collegiate School. He got a full University scholarship and preceded to the University of New Zealand, Wellington, and fom there he went to Canterbury College.He graduated in 1893 with a double in Mathematics and Physical Science.
  • In 1894, he was awarded an 1851 Exhibition Science Scholarship, enabling him to go to Trinity College, Cambridge, as a research student at the Cavendish Laboratory under J.J. Thomson.

  • Rutherford's first researches, in New Zealand, were concerned with the magnetic properties of iron exposed to high-frequency oscillations, and his thesis was entitled Magnetization of Iron by High-Frequency Discharges. He was one of the first to design highly original experiments with high-frequency, alternating currents.
  • His second paper, Magnetic Viscosity, was published in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute (1896) and contains a description of
    Magnetic Viscosity
    Magnetic Viscosity
    a time-apparatus capable of measuring time intervals of a hundred-thousandth of a second.
  • He invented a detector for electromagnetic waves, an essential feature being an ingenious magnetizing coil containing tiny bundles of magnetized iron wire.

Research of the atom, radioactivity, and atomic fission
  • Frederick Soddy arrived at McGill in Montreal in 1900 from Oxford, and he collaborated with Rutherford in creating the "disintegration theory" of radioactivity which regards radioactive phenomena as atomic - not molecular - processes.
  • At Manchester, Rutherford continued his research on the properties of the radium emanation (radioactive decay process) and of the alpha rays and, in conjunction with H. Geiger, a method of detecting a single alpha particle and counting the number emitted from radium was devised.
  • In 1910, his investigations into the scattering of alpha rays and the nature of the inner structure of the atom which caused such scattering led to the postulation of his concept of the "nucleus", his greatest contribution to physics.
  • In 1913, together with H. G. Moseley, he used cathode rays to bombard atoms of various elements and showed that the inner structures correspond with a grou
    Alph Rays
    p of lines which characterize the elements.
  • In 1919, during his last year at Manchester, he discovered that the nuclei of certain light elements, such as nitrogen, could be "disintegrated" by the impact of energetic alpha particles coming from some radioactive source, and that during this process fast protons were emitted G. de Hevesy was also one of Rutherford's collaborators at Manchester.
  • Rutherford published many books in his life, most on the topic of atoms.

Interesting facts...

Rutherford was knighted in 1914; he was appointed to the Order of Merit in 1925, and in 1931 he was created First Baron Rutherford of Nelson, New Zealand, and Cambridge. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1903 and was its President from 1925 to 1930. Amongst his many honors, he was awarded the Rumford Medal (1905) and the Copley Medal (1922) of the Royal Society, the Bressa Prize (1910) of the Turin Academy of Science, the Albert Medal (1928) of the Royal Society of Arts, the Faraday Medal (1930) of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the D.Sc. degree of the University of New Zealand, and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, McGill, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Yale, Glasgow, Giessen, Copenhagen, Cambridge, Dublin, Durham, Oxford, Liverpool, Toronto, Bristol, Cape Town, London and Leeds.

His Impact on the World...

´╗┐Rutherfords discoveries allowed scienctists to learn more about the world we live in and who we are. Atoms are in every living thing, and with information like this, and information that can be gained in the future, we can learn more about our small part in the universe
Thanks to the discovery, we now know that the only "solid" part of the atom is the atomic nucleus, which disproves the plum pudding model

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