Pictures: the father of nuclear physics, Sir Ernest Rutherford

The British physicist of New Zealand origin, known as the “father” of nuclear physics, also the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry in 1908, Sir Ernest Rutherford, was born on August 30, 1871.

We decided to recall the biography of the famous scientist and illustrate its main milestones in our photo selection.

Born on August 30, 1871 in the city of Spring - Brouv (New Zealand) in a family of Scottish immigrants. My father worked as a mechanic and farmer-flax grower, my mother worked as a teacher. Ernest was the fourth of Rutherford’s 12 children and the most talented.

House at Foxhill, Where Ernest spent part of my childhood

"The sciences are divided into two groups - on physics and stamp collecting"

Already at the end of elementary school, as the first student, he received an award of £ 50 to continue his education. Due to this, Rutherford entered college in Nelson (New Zealand).

Portrait of Rutherford in 1892 when he was a student at Canterbury College

After graduating from college, the young man passed the exams at the University of Canterbury and here he was seriously engaged in physics and chemistry.

“If a scientist cannot explain what he is doing, a cleaner cleaning the floor in his laboratory, then he himself does not understand what he is doing”


Rutherford with students in Montreal, California. 1899 year


J.J.Tomson, like many outstanding professors of physics at the end of the 19th century, gathered a group of bright young "students-researchers" around him. Directly among them is his protege Ernest Rutherford.

He participated in the creation of a scientific student society and made a report in 1891 on the theme “The Evolution of Elements”, where the idea was first expressed that atoms are complex systems built from the same components.

Hans Geiger was at Rutherford main partner at research since 1907 to 1913

At a time when J. Dalton’s idea of ​​the indivisibility of the atom reigned in physics, this thought seemed absurd, and young Rutherford even had to apologize to his colleagues for “obvious nonsense.”

Ernest Rutherford (first left in the bottom row) with colleagues

True, after 12 years, Rutherford proved his point. After graduating from university, Ernest became a high school teacher, but he clearly did not like this occupation. Rutherford - the best graduate of the year - was awarded a scholarship, and he went to Cambridge - the science center of England - to continue his studies.

Rutherford (second from left in the top row) with classmates in 1896

In the Cavendish Laboratory, Rutherford created a transmitter for radio communications within a radius of 3 km, but gave priority to his invention to the Italian engineer G. Marconi, while he himself began to study the ionization of gases and air. The scientist noticed that uranium radiation has two components - alpha and beta rays. It was a revelation.

Rutherford I loved good game in golf on Sundays. From left to right: Ralph Fowler, F.W.Aston, Rutherford, G.AND.Taylor

In Montreal, when studying the activity of thorium, Rutherford discovered a new gas - radon. In 1902, in his work The Cause and Nature of Radioactivity, the scientist first suggested that the cause of radioactivity is the spontaneous transition of some elements into others. He found that alpha particles are positively charged, their mass is greater than the mass of a hydrogen atom, and the charge is approximately equal to the charge of two electrons, and it resembles helium atoms.

Wedding Ernest and Mary Rutherford, 28 june 1900 in New Zealand

In 1903, Rutherford became a member of the Royal Society of London, and from 1925 to 1930 he served as its president.

Ernest Rutherford at the 1911 Solvay Congress

In 1904, the fundamental work of the scientist “Radioactive substances and their radiation,” which became an encyclopedia for nuclear physicists, was published. In 1908, Rutherford became a Nobel laureate for his research on radioactive elements. Head of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Manchester, Rutherford created a school of nuclear physicists, his students.

Rutherford always gathered a group of bright young talents around him. Photo 1910

Together with them, he was engaged in the study of the atom in 1911. He finally came to the planetary model of the atom, as he wrote in an article published in the May issue of The Philosophical Journal. The model was not accepted immediately, it was established only after it was finalized by the students of Rutherford, in particular N. Bohr.

Cockroft, Rutherford, and Walton in 1932

Sculpture of a young Ernest Rutherford. Memorial in New Zealand

The scientist died on October 19, 1937 in Cambridge. Like many great people of England, Ernest Rutherford rests in the Cathedral of St. Paul, in the "Corner of Science", next to Newton, Faraday, Darren, Herschel.

Watch the video: Ernest Rutherford Biography (March 2020).

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