Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford

Length: 969 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was born in Spring Grove in New Zealand on August 30th, 1871. His parents, James and Martha, had emigrated from Great Britain and believed their children, numbering 12, should have proper education. At the age of 16 Ernest won his first scholarship to Nelson College, where he was a popular student. He followed with a second scholarship to Canterbury College in Christchurch, and by 1893 had graduated with first class honours in Physics and Mathematics. Rutherford stayed at Canterbury for a further year to study Physics in more detail, particularly how iron reacted in magnetic fields. He also researched electromagnetic (wireless) waves, shortly after they were discovered by the German Heinrich Hertz, and produced two papers on his findings, winning another scholarship in England.
When he arrived in Cambridge in 1895, Ernest worked for J.J. Thomson, a lecturer at Cambridge’s ‘Cavendish Laboratory’. He often wrote letters to his girlfriend, Mary Nelson, and his mother, and in these he depicts how some members of Cavendish were jealous of him, or so he thought. Everywhere Ernest went, he was recognized as being a leader and thinker, with ‘amazing concentration’.
He continued working on wireless or Hertzian waves, and discovered they not only traveled through brick walls but over a distance of two miles. When Rutherford gave an experimental lecture for the Physics Society of Cambridge University, his paper was so successful that it was also published in the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, a signal honour for so young an investigator.”*
Late in 1895, after Rontgen had discovered x-rays, Thomson invited Ernest to join him in looking at how these x-rays passed through a gas. The discovery made was that x-rays made many ions, or electrically charged particles. These particles had either a positive or negative charge, and were therefore attracted to each other in the same fashion as the north and south poles of a magnet. When they joined together the charges evened out, and the particles had no charge.
Rutherford began working on his own and discovered a formula for calculating the velocity and rate of joining of these particles. He produced more papers on this, which are still relevant to modern physics.
When it was found that rays given off by uranium could fog a photographic plate, Ernest looked at the process and decided it was similar to X rays but that uranium rays had two different types, alpha and beta rays, which when combined, ionized and penetrated air exceedingly well.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Ernest Rutherford." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=64505>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Ernest Rutherford and The Gold Foil Experiment

- ... Although this theory was widely accepted, some scientists theorised that Thompson’s model was incorrect, one of them being Hantaro Nagaoka who countered Thompson’s model with the argument that opposite charges cannot infiltrate one another, so the positive charge held by the atom must be focused in the nucleus and the electrons would revolve around the outside. Rutherford’s experiment would prove Nagaoka correct, and reinvent the model of the atom. Hans Geiger, Rutherford’s colleague, built a vacuum tube with a mass of radium at one end, and in the opposite end, a fluorescent zinc sulphide screen to created tiny flashes of light when the alpha particles from the radium hit the screen....   [tags: splitting the atom, plum pudding model]

Research Papers
743 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Ernest Rutherford

- Ernest Rutherford Born on August 30th, 1871 in New Zealand, Ernest Rutherford accomplished to be one of many successful chemists throughout the world in the 19th and the 20th centuries. With his brilliant experiments he explained the puzzling problem of radioactivity and the sudden breakdown of atoms. In addition, he determined the structure of the atom and was first to ever split it. Rutherford's great mind triggered innovations of new technology such as the smoke detector that saves many lives today....   [tags: Biography]

Free Essays
1039 words (3 pages)

Essay on Ernest Rutherford

- Ernest Rutherford Ernest Rutherford was born in New Zealand in 1871 as one of 12 children. It was Rutherford who first "split" an atom and who discovered the atomic "nucleus", a name that he invented. For this he is regarded as the greatest experimental physicist of his time. Rutherford was one of the first and most important researchers in nuclear physics. Soon after the discovery of radioactivity in 1986 by the French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel, Rutherford discovered the three different types of radiation....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
574 words (1.6 pages)

Ernest Rutherford Essays

- Ernest Rutherford Ernest Rutherford was born in Spring Grove in New Zealand on August 30th, 1871. His parents, James and Martha, had emigrated from Great Britain and believed their children, numbering 12, should have proper education. At the age of 16 Ernest won his first scholarship to Nelson College, where he was a popular student. He followed with a second scholarship to Canterbury College in Christchurch, and by 1893 had graduated with first class honours in Physics and Mathematics. Rutherford stayed at Canterbury for a further year to study Physics in more detail, particularly how iron reacted in magnetic fields....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Free Essays
969 words (2.8 pages)

The Structure And Function Of The Atomic Model Essay

- The structure and function of the atomic model have been a subject that has had various theories revolving around it. The theory that is the predecessor of modern chemistry started over 2400 years ago, however, it was ignored until the 1800s. The theories about the atomic model ranges from Greek philosophers to 1800s scientists to modern chemists. Bernard Pullman states in his book, “Most of the early philosophers believed that the essence of all things could be reduced to material principles.” In 440 B.C., the Greek philosopher Democritus started to question what ‘matter’ was....   [tags: Atom, Electron, Ernest Rutherford, Proton]

Research Papers
1158 words (3.3 pages)

Atomic Theories Of The Atomic Theory Essay

- Atomic Theory History The Atomic Theory first came to the surface of science around 400 B.C. by a famous philosopher named Democritus. He actually didn’t create it first, but he was the first man to adopt the Atomic Theory into the world. His Atomic Theory stated that, “ All matter consist of invisible particles called atoms or atomos. The universe consists of two elements that are atoms and the invisible space that the atoms move around in. He also said that the atoms cannot be destroyed, are always moving, and they differ in size, shape and temperature (Democritus).” It took many centuries after Democritus’ discovery of the Atomic Theory, before a new chemist named John Dalton he...   [tags: Atom, Electron, Neutron, Ernest Rutherford]

Research Papers
809 words (2.3 pages)

Rutherfords Gold Foil Experiment Essays

- Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment Rutherford started his scientific career with much success in local schools leading to a scholarship to Nelson College. After achieving more academic honors at Nelson College, Rutherford moved on to Cambridge University's Cavendish laboratory. There he was lead by his mentor J.J. Thomson convinced him to study radiation. By 1889 Rutherford was ready to earn a living and sought a job. With Thomson's recommendation McGill University in Montreal accepted him as a professor of chemistry....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
783 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about The Life of Ernest Miller Hemingway

- The Life of Ernest Miller Hemingway      There were several writers in the twentieth century, and among them was Ernest Miller Hemingway. Hemingway had a interesting, but strange life. By analyzing and exploring the literature and biographies of Ernest Hemingway, one will be able to understand the life of Ernest Hemingway and see the major contributions he had to literature.      He was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway was born in the Hemingway family home, which was built by his grandfather Ernest Hall....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Writers Essays]

Research Papers
3837 words (11 pages)

Essay about Ernest Hemingway's Lost Generation

- Hemingway's Lost Generation         Before World War I and the Great Depression, the American dream consisted of the inherent optimism about the future, and a faith in individualism. However, Americans became skeptical of these beliefs and traditions. The country lost its innocence with the war, turning idealism to cynicism resulting in the questioning of the authority and tradition which had seemed to be the American bedrock (Anderson 519). The suffering of millions of Americans brought by the decade of economic depression also changed American's outlook (Phillips 213)....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Essays]

Research Papers
788 words (2.3 pages)

Ernest Hemingway Essay

- Ernest Hemingway The writer/artist that I chose to enlighten you with has inspired many writers as well as literature majors for many years. He continues to tickle our imaginations with the legacy that he has left us with. This man was as genuine as you can get. He was loved by many. He made an impact on any life that he came across. This man is non other than, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was a free spirit in an unattached sense. He loved adventure, as well as the drink. He was somewhat enterprising and approached life with added enthusiasm....   [tags: Ernest Hemingway Authors Essays]

Research Papers
1653 words (4.7 pages)

Related Searches


During 1898 he was offered a position as the chair of physics at McGill University in Montreal. In a letter to Mary he wrote “the salary is only 500 pounds but enough for you and me to start on.”
In 1900 Rutherford went back to his home country and got married to Mary. His first and only child was born a year later and was named Eileen.
Ernest soon branched out into an entirely new field: radioactivity. He began investigating radium, thorium and actinium, and by 1902 had the theory of radioactivity, which was a controversial idea, and hard to accept for many chemists. Nevertheless, Rutherford was awarded the Rumford medal in 1904, and in the same year produced a book, called ‘Radioactivity’, and his findings on the subject.
While he was at McGill, Ernest wrote 80 scientific papers, made many public appearances, and was offered chairs at many other universities. In 1907 he was offered the chair of physics at the Manchester University, and decided to take it, continuing to work on his alpha particle. By doing many tests with simple but ingenious apparatus, he was able to deduce Avogardo’s Number (the constant number of molecules in a molecular gram of any substance.)
In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for his work on Radioactivity.
1911 saw Rutherford’s greatest achievement, his nuclear theory of the atom. Hantaro Nagaoka presented a similar theorem in 1904 but it was not accepted, as it was widely believed that if electrons circumnavigated the nucleus they would radiate their energy, be pulled into the nucleus almost immediately, and lose their energy. However, in 1913 Neils Bohr found that electrons did orbit the nucleus without expelling any energy, proving Nagaoka and Rutherford’s predictions right.
In 1914 Rutherford was knighted for his contributions to science, and during WW1 he began working on detecting the Central Forces submarines by underwater accoustics, and by 1919 had surpassed Thomson, and became the Cavendish professor. After this, Ernest did not produce so many contributions or hypotheses, but many of his students, under his instruction, did.
He was always happy when something new was discovered, whether it be by him or his students, or somebody completely different, and was always, as a true scientist is, on a never ending quest for answers and the truth. This shows, when in 1934 Enrico Fermi separated many different elements with neutrons, proving that each had a different kind of atom, and there were only a set number of these substances. Rutherford wrote to him after he achieved this, congratulating him on “escaping from theoretical physics.”
Unfortunately his daughter Eileen died in 1931, but he still liked playing golf, reading, and got along well with others, his fairness earning him the respect of his students and peers.
Rutherford also enjoyed toying with totally new concepts and explaining them to be easily understood by others, particularly his students, had a happy home life, and generally had good health. This ended in 1937, when he passed away on October 19th, after contracting a short but unknown illness.

*Taken from page 1 of article ‘Ernest Rutherford’, encylodaedia Britannica, 1998.

Bibliography:

Encyclopaedia Brittanica CD Rom, 1998 Edition.
World Book Encyclopedia, 1999 Edition.
http://www.dune.com/ : Scientific based search engine
Chronicle of the 20th Century
Collins college dictionary, english.
Return to 123HelpMe.com