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                                                Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was one of the leading and influential scientists of the 20th century. Rutherford is also referred as ‘the father of nuclear physics’. He is best known for his work on radioactivity. He even has an element Rutherfordium named after him. He was born on August 30, 1871, in Spring Grove, New Zealand. His parents were James and Martha Thompson Rutherford. Ernest Rutherford completed his early education at Havelock School then he won a scholarship to attend Nelson College. In 1890, he joined Canterbury College in Christchurch.

Fun Facts: –

  • Rutherford was the first research student of the University of Cambridge.
  • He invented a radio receiver while still in Canterbury College. At Cambridge University, he worked to improve this invention.
  • After this, Rutherford collaborated with German physicist J. J. Thomson to study the ionization of gases by X-rays.
  • In 1898, he was appointed as a physics professor McGill University in Montreal.
  • In 1908, Rutherford was awarded the Noble Prize in Chemistry.
  • He was the first person from the continent of Oceania who won a noble prize.
  • In 1914, he was knighted for his contributions in science and given the title of a member of the Order of Merit.
  • After serving as the President of the Academic Assistance Council he also became the President of the Royal Society.
  • He is also credited with the discovery of the concept of nuclear half lives.
  • One of the landmark experiments in science, the gold foil experiment was carried out in 1909.
  • Rutherford coined the terms ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ to describe two different radiations emitted by uranium and thorium.
  • He died on October 19, 1937, in Cambridge, United Kingdom.


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