Essay On Rutherfords Gold Foil Experiment

Discoverer/Developer

Ernest Rutherford was born in 1871 in Brightwater, New Zealand. After graduating from the University of New Zealand, Rutherford researched at both Canterbury University and McGill University, which are located in the United Kingdom and Canada respectively. At both universities he studied radioactivity and radiation. He eventually was offered the Langworthy Professor of Physics position at the University of Manchester. At the University of Manchester, Rutherford aided Professor Hans Geiger in creating the Geiger Counter. This device detects alpha particles. Geiger and Rutherford had previously revealed in 1908 that the alpha particles were helium ions, as both had the same atomic light spectrum (emission spectrum). With tensions high in Europe on the verge of WWI, and many German scientists working on x-ray and radiation research, pressure was put on English scientists to match these with new discoveries. After determining the identity of the alpha particles, Rutherford, Geiger, and Geiger's graduate student Ernest Marsden decided to test how alpha particles interacted with other elements. They tested this by shooting alpha particles at a thin gold foil.

Use/Application through History

With the discovery of a small massive center to the atom, the idea of neutral particles, neutrons, was hypothisized. After Rutherford's famous experiment, and with Rutherford's aid, James Chadwick was able to isolate and prove the existance of neutrons.

The idea that the nucleus of an atom is made up of smaller particles also led to the first splitting of an atom. Ernest Cockcroft and J.D. Walton successfully split a lithium Ion.

Niels Bohr created his model of the atom, with a positive center and electrons orbiting it, a model which is widely used today, from Rutherford's model.

The concept of nuclear fission, which is the addition of two nuclei, was also soon developed. This process is used by the sun to create solar energy as well as in a hydrogen bomb.

Essay on Ernest Rutherford and The Gold Foil Experiment

755 Words4 Pages

Ernest Rutherford was a New Zealand born British physicist who is famously known for “splitting the atom.” His work on the gold foil experiment contributed greatly to the model of the atom and helped develop the standard model of the atom to what we now use today. Without his contributions we would still be using the Plum Pudding model, an out dated and incorrect model, and we would have less of an understanding of how atoms form the world around us.

Before Rutherford’s Geiger-Marsden experiment the most popular model of the atom was the “plum pudding model” developed in 1904 by the person who also discovered the electron in 1897, J.J. Thompson. It was the most common model of the atom and stated that electrons (plum) floated around with…show more content…

Ernest Rutherford was a New Zealand born British physicist who is famously known for “splitting the atom.” His work on the gold foil experiment contributed greatly to the model of the atom and helped develop the standard model of the atom to what we now use today. Without his contributions we would still be using the Plum Pudding model, an out dated and incorrect model, and we would have less of an understanding of how atoms form the world around us.

Before Rutherford’s Geiger-Marsden experiment the most popular model of the atom was the “plum pudding model” developed in 1904 by the person who also discovered the electron in 1897, J.J. Thompson. It was the most common model of the atom and stated that electrons (plum) floated around with free movement in a mass of positive charge (pudding), hence the name “plum pudding.” There were no other sub-atomic particles in the diagram, as they had not been discovered at the time of J.J. Thompson’s model of the atom, however it was know that the atom has neutral, so Thompson’s theory of the positive cloud substituted protons. There were several problems with Thompson’s model, including the lack of a nucleus with protons, which lead Thompson and other scientists to believe that the atom had electrons to balance out it’s positively charged nature and give the atom a neutral charge. Although this theory was widely accepted, some scientists theorised that Thompson’s model was incorrect, one of them being Hantaro Nagaoka who countered

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