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Ernest Rutherford: 

Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was a brilliant man. He was involved with the discovery of the different kinds of radiation and the atom. He was one New Zealander that changed history forever. Ernest Rutherford was known for many important findings.: 

Ernest Rutherford was a brilliant man. He was involved with the discovery of the different kinds of radiation and the atom. He was one New Zealander that changed history forever. Ernest Rutherford was known for many important findings.

General Information: 

WJ- So Ernest, where were you born? ER- I was born in Brightwater, New Zealand in the glorious year of 1871. I died in 1937 in London. WJ- Who were your parents? ER- My parents names were James and Martha Rutherford. General Information

Schooling: 

Schooling WJ- I see that you got a scholarship to a university in 1895. What university was that? ER- I went to Cambridge University in England. That’s where I met J.J. Thomson, you know.

Famous People: 

Famous People WJ- Some of the greatest people in physics studied under you. Who were they? ER- Well, Neils Bohr, James Chadwick, and Robert Oppenheimer were a few. WJ- You also worked with some other important people. Who were they? ER- I worked with Frederick Soddy to prove that atoms of one radioactive element could spontaneously turn into another. That Frederick was a card. Anyway, I also worked with Hans Geiger, the man that invented the Geiger counter, to set up a center to study radiation.

The Nucleus: 

The Nucleus WJ- So let’s get to your discoveries. What were just a few of the main ones? ER- Well, not to be bragging, but I discovered alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. I also developed a model of the atom with a nucleus. That was fun. WJ- Yes, how did you find out about the nucleus? ER- I led alpha particles through a small hole in a box. These particles collided with the gold foil I set up and bounced in various directions. I surmised that there had to be something in the center of the gold atoms, the nucleus. I also figured there was a cloud of electrons around this nucleus. It was like firing shells at a piece of paper and having them bounce back at you.

Other Discoveries: 

Other Discoveries WJ- Is there anything else that you discovered? ER- I also split the atom in 1919. When I bombarded the nitrogen atom with the alpha particles of radium, it changed into hydrogen. It was like playing with marbles. WJ- Interesting. So you like that experiment? ER- Oh yes. I have broken the machine and touched the ghost of matter.

Slide8: 

WJ- When did you realize you were a national hero in New Zealand? ER- Well, I figured I would become one after my Nobel Prize. WJ- Why did you get a Nobel Prize? ER- I received a Nobel Prize in chemistry for all my advancements and achievements in the world of science.

Knighted: 

Knighted WJ- I understand that you got knighted? ER- That is correct. When I was 60, I was named Baron Rutherford. I even sent a telegram to my mother. I said, “Now Lord Rutherford. More your honor than mine. Ernest.” WJ- You are modest. What was your coat of arms? ER- I chose the design of a kiwi and a Maori warrior. Of coarse I derived these from New Zealand.

Recognition: 

Recognition WJ- Other than being knighted and receiving the Nobel Prize, what other kind of recognition did you receive? ER- I was also named the “Father of Nuclear Physics.” One more thing is that my image is now on New Zealand’s $100 note. Is that recognition, or what!

One Last Quote: 

One Last Quote WJ-Now is there anything that you would like to say? ER- Just that all science is either physics or stamp collecting.

Bibliography: 

Bibliography FECS. “FECS Millennium Project 100 Distinguished European Chemist.” [Online] Available http://www.chemsoc.org/networks/enc/fecs/Rutherford.htm, no date. Nobel Lectures. “Ernest Rutherford.” [Online] Available http://www.nobel.se/chemistry/laureates/1908/rutherford-bio.html, June 27, 2000. Rhodes, R. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1986. Sweeney, B. “Ernest Rutherford-Atom Man.” [Online] Available http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/rutherford.html, 2000. Weisstein, E. “Rutherford, Ernest.” [Online] Available http://www.treasure-troves.com/bios/Rutherford.html, 1995-2000. WGBH. “Ernest Rutherford.” [Online] Available http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bpruth.html, 1998. Winter Johnston