Rutherford’s Contribution to Understanding the Atom by Rodney A. Brooks

Soon after receiving his M.A. and B.S.. distinctions from the University of New Zealand, Ernest Rutherford was digging spuds on his dad’s field one day when he heard news of a scholarship award for Cambridge University. He is actually reported to have said “That’s the last potato I’ll dig” and set out right away for England. Rutherford, just like Faraday preceding him, was really not extremely competent around mathematics, however, possessed a fabulous personal instinct along with a gift when it comes to experimentation. After he landed in England, he was actually faced with one of the paramount puzzles of physics: just what does the atom look like?


According to just one supposition of the period, the atom is actually a firm round ball utilizing electrons enclosed in like raisins inside a fruitcake. Still this was actually no more than a conjecture. Rutherford’s fantastic feat was actually to discover the framework of atoms experimentally. To execute this he used a bit of radium which produced radiations called alpha particles. By aiming this radiation at a thin leaf of gold foil along with scrutinizing the dispersed radiation– i.e., radiation deflected from its original orientation– together with the help of a little bit of mathematics (something Faraday would most likely not have had the capacity to do) Rutherford was actually qualified to ascertain that gold atoms are actually not solid balls, but are really in fact predominately vacant space together with a very tiny positively-charged nucleus in the center.

Eventually in 1911 Rutherford, very sprightly and happy, came into [Hans] Geiger’s lab and told Geiger that he determined exactly what the atom appeared to be … Geiger kicked off his vital studies so as to analyze Rutherford’s reasoning on that very same day and thus validated one of the utmost contributions to physics. It must be regarded as the very height connected with Rutherford’s research and is absolutely to be ranked the most significant in regard to all scientific achievements.– H. Boorse and L. Motz


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