Key Achievements of Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford was born on the 30 August 1871 and died on the 19 October 1937. He made significant advances in the Atomic Theory and achieved great success during his life. Due to these advances and achievements he is now referred to as “the father of nuclear physics”.
In 1890 Ernest Rutherford got into the Canterbury College in New Zealand. There he gained first class degrees in Mathematics and Science. He then developed a radio waves demodulator which was dependant on an iron, magnetised. During 1894, in New Zealand, Cambridge University offered a scholarship to one postgraduate student. This was won my Ernest Rutherford and a year later departed from New Zealand, and his family, to England.
At the renowned Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, Joseph John Thomson was the professor. Rutherford ceased his work on the radio waves demodulator to join Thomson in his work, experimenting gases that conduct subsequent to exposure to the recently developed X-Ray. During the year 1897 Rutherford had been performing research on gases that, after contact with radioactivity, conduct. At the same time Thomson announced his evidence of the electron being existent. Also, the ascertainment of radioactivity was proclaimed in Paris by Henri Becquerel.
During 1898 Ernest Rutherford submitted an application for a professorship in Montreal, Canada at the McGill University. He then became a professor, and entered the initial famous phase of his future of scientific innovation.
In 1901 Rutherford was assisted with his work on radioactivity by British chemist Frederick Soddy. Before a year had passed they attained that upon the discharge of radiation, causes a radioactive atom to change to another atom. A paper was issued by both scientists on the theory of “spontaneous transformation of radioactive materials and radioactivity, and the source and characteristics of radioactivity. Rutherford was also able to practise on alpha particles, and issued a paper on the alteration of radioactivity. With Frederick Soddy's assistance, Rutherford had answered numerous questions to do with radioactivity. He recognised that atoms that are radioactive alter instinctively to different atoms. This idea was classified as isotopes.
During 1906, at the University of Manchester, the professor holding the position of the chairman, offered this position to Rutherford and assured him that he would retire if Rutherford accepted the position. Rutherford did just this and within a year he transferred to Manchester's well-appointed and contemporary laboratory. This was the commencement of the second phase of his life of scientific discovery and is regarded as the paramount of his scientific life.
During 1908, for his discovery that elements are not unalterable and can modify their configuration from weighty elements to faintly lighter, Rutherford was triumphant in earning a Nobel Prize in the field of Chemistry. He now began the study of the characteristics of alpha particles. He did this in the company of his fifteen research apprentices. A sequence of trials, he believed, showed him that alpha units were actually helium atoms.
During 1911 an idea regarding the existence of the atomic nucleus was put forward by Rutherford. This was his most innovative idea. Two of Rutherford's employees discovered that when alpha particles were shot at an emaciated foil of metal, numerous particles were rebounded. This was explained by Rutherford as the planetary model of an atom, where the whole positive charge of an atom is in the tiny nucleus, while the negative charged, electrons occupy the area around the nucleus. This was important because Rutherford proved that the electrons were located on the outside of the nucleus, which meant that they were mobile. Because of this discovery we now know that the electrons orbiting the nucleus are responsible for the reactivity of the atom.
During 1917 Rutherford entered his third phase of scientific discovery, after the war, and a period away from Manchester, Rutherford returned to study in his abandoned laboratory. He was convinced that he had ascertained a study comprising of the simulated alteration of nitrogen (splitting of the atom). One year later the position of Cavendish professor at Cambridge befell him, and the simulated alteration of nitrogen was declared as definite. The experiment that Rutherford used to determine this was as follows:
1. Alpha particles from polonium pass through nitrogen gas
2. One alpha particle collided with a nitrogen nucleus
3. A hydrogen nucleus was expelled and an oxygen nucleus formed.
During 1920 Rutherford dubbed the hydrogen nucleus as a proton (before discovery of neutron), and the Cavendish expanded, in size and repute beneath his guidance. The scientific findings were no longer made by Rutherford but those beneath him, who were aided by his curiosity and eagerness.
President of the “Royal Society” between 1925 and 1930, Rutherford's utmost accomplishment was acknowledged when he became was name ‘Baron Rutherford of Nelson'. He passed away following a short sickness during October 1937, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.