Ernest Rutherford

By: Connor Menefee

Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford Biography

Rutherford History



Chemist and physicist Ernest Rutherford was born on the South Island on August 30, 1891, in Spring Grove, New Zealand. He was the second son and the fourth of 12 children. When Rutherford was young they called him "Ern". Since money was tight he his motto was "We haven't the money, so we've got to think..' After school activities and chores included milking cows and helping out at the family farm. When Rutherford was 10, he got his first science book at Fox hill School. It was that book who inspired him to put together his first science project which was a small cannon, which to his and his families surprise, unfortunately exploded... He attended Canterbury where he also met the love of his life, she was his landlady's daughter, Mary Newton. They got married in 1900, and had a daughter shortly later named Eileen. Ern discovered 2 different types of radiation, which he named alpha and beta. By measuring the ratio of the mass charged, he formed a hypothesis that alpha particles are helium ions carrying 2+ charge, and came to a conclusion that alpha particles are atomic in nature, alpha particles are produced by disintegration of larger particles- and so atoms are not, as everyone believes, as indestructible. Rutherford is the 'titan' of physics and discovered the nucleus of the atom. Rutherford was awarded the Noble prize in 1908 for his investigation of disintegration of elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances. On Thursday October 4, 1937, Rutherford woke up with extreme pain in his stomach, after a bunch of vomiting he was finally taken to the doctor. Laying there in immense amounts of pain because the doctors couldn't touch him because he was so high up with the British Establishment.. He had a strangulated umbilical hernia. The delay of not getting the best doctors there, caused his death. Dunhill arrived late to Cambridge, attempting the surgery it was to late. The hernia cut off blood supply to Rutherfords bowel, proved fatal. The tissue death and shock of surgery was to much, he died on October 19, 1937 at the age of 66.