ERNEST RUTHERFORD

AKA "Ern"

Who Am I? (background information)

The nationally acclaimed scientist, Ernest Rutherford, was born in 1871 and raised by his parents, Martha and James, in Nelson New Zealand with 11 other brother and sisters. During his teenager years he attended Nelson Collegiate School and after graduating, he received a scholarship to Canterbury College and researched radioactivity. Just the fact that he managed to make it all the way to college was an accomplishment itself seeing that his father, one of his main influences in life, had little education and struggled to support the large family with all his income coming from flax-miller and the family farm where Ernest spent most of his time helping out on the family farm after school. He led a normal life, not one of a brilliant researching scientist that would later discover something that would lead him to a nobel prize. Although a distinct feature of his childhood that does point to his later fascination with science was he once attempted to build a miniature cannon, but it promptly exploded. Science encaptured him and after his years at college his was awarded another scholarship to Canterbury College in New Zealand where he obtained both his Bachelor of Arts and his Master of Arts degrees all while achieving first class honors in math and science. In 1894, Rutherford conducted research on the ability of high frequency electrical discharge to magnetize iron. This research earned him a Bachelor of Science degree and he continued to research things to do with the atom but his most distinguished accomplishment was his Gold Foil Experiment. Other than his scientific research he lead a normal life, marrying Mary Newton and having a daughter who they named Eileen.



Ernest Rutherford Biography

The Gold Foil Experiment

To test how alpha particles interact with other elements Rutherford developed the gold foil experiment which proved that there was a small massive center to atoms. AKA the nucleus. To prove it Rutherford and friends shot alpha particles through a thin gold foil. Only a small percentage of the particles were deflected off of the gold, which rejected their previous hypothesis that all the particles would go straight through.
Rutherford's Experiment: Nuclear Atom