Ernest Rutherford (1871- 1937) .:::Father of Nuclear Science:::.
Growing Up Ernest Rutherford was born on August 30, 1871 and grew up in a poor, rural area in New Zealand called Brightwater. He was the fourth child and second son of twelve children by James and Martha Rutherford. He lived the typical life of a child living in the country. His family chores ate up time after school. Chores such as milking cows and gathering firewood. On Saturdays, Rutherford went swimming and bird’s-nesting with his brothers to raise money for kite string and slingshot rubber. At age 10, he received his first science book. This book contained many experiments that caught the interest of young Ernest. But there was one experiment that particularly interested him. It was about using the speed of sound to determine the distance to a firing cannon. The knowledge he gained from performing this experiment gave him the ability to estimate the distance to a lightning flash. This surprised his family.
Educational Background Rutherford received an early education from the government and at the age of sixteen attended Nelson Collegiate School. In 1895, Rutherford left New Zealand having earned three degrees from the University of New Zealand. He became professor of physics at McGill University (1898-1907) and professor and director of the physical laboratory at the University of Manchester (1907-1919) after working under J.J. Thomson at Cambridge. At the end of this time, he succeeded Thomson as professor and director of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge.
Accomplishments and Impact <ul><li>Rutherford’s main research was in the field of radioactivity. He discovered alpha, beta, and gamma rays and he recognized the nuclear nature of the atom in 1911. In 1919, he announced that the nucleus of an atom must contain hydrogen nuclei. This hydrogen nuclei was later given the name “proton”. After this discovery, he also speculated that uncharged particles called “neutrons” existed in the nucleus. </li></ul>
(Continued) <ul><li>He performed the first nuclear fission reaction by bombarding deuterium with deuterons and produced tritium. </li></ul><ul><li>Rutherford produced the first artificial transformation (changing an element to another) by bombarding nitrogen with alpha particles and getting hydrogen and oxygen. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1908, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry because of his work in atomic disintegration and the chemistry of radioactive substances. </li></ul>
(Continued) <ul><li>His findings have greatly impacted our lives today. During his long and distinguished career, Rutherford worked and experimented to better understand atomic structure. And in addition to this, he discovered that radioactive elements undergo decay over a certain amount of time. By discovering this, he unleashed the power of the atom. And to this day, that power is being harnessed for both beneficial and destructive processes. </li></ul>
Ernest Rutherford was recognized in many countries for his scientific discoveries and accomplishments. These countries honored him by featuring him on their stamps and/or their money.
Rutherford, a native son and national hero in New Zealand, is featured on the country's hundred dollar bill (U.S. $40.50).
Rutherford's profound discoveries have inspired commemorative postage stamps in three countries. (Canada, New Zealand, Soviet Union) The Canadian stamp remembers his Nobel Prize-winning work on radioactivity he conducted in Canada.
This New Zealand stamp recognizes the world's first successful alchemist who converted nitrogen atoms into oxygen atoms.
The USSR issued this stamp in 1971. It highlights Rutherford's alpha-scattering experiments, which revealed the dense, miniscule atomic nucleus surrounded largely by empty space and distant electrons.
<ul><li>Rutherford was elevated to the peerage in the New Year's honors list for 1931, thus becoming Ernest, Lord Rutherford of Nelson. He chose to include in his coat of arms a kiwi, a Maori warrior, and Hermes Trismegistus, the patron saint of knowledge and alchemists. His shield is quartered by the curves of the decay and growth of radioactivity. His Latin motto is Primordia Quaerere Rerum. This means "To Seek the Nature of Things“. </li></ul>
Rutherford published several books: <ul><li>Radioactivity (1904) </li></ul><ul><li>Radioactive Transformations (1906) </li></ul><ul><li>Radiation from Radioactive Substances (1919) </li></ul><ul><li>The Electrical Structure of Matter (1926) </li></ul><ul><li>The Artificial Transmutation of the Elements (1933) </li></ul><ul><li>The Newer Alchemy (1937) </li></ul>
.::Rutherford, the unit::. Ernest Rutherford created the unit, Rutherford (rd) It is an obsolete unit of radioactivity defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one million nuclei decay per second.
Historical Background of the Period Rutherford lived in the period in which World War I took place. He had a part in helping out in this war. During the war, Rutherford worked on acoustic methods of detecting submarines. He was a strong supporter of scientific research and education but he was also aware of how people are able to misuse science. During World War I, he hoped that an efficient way of extracting the energy of the atom would not be discovered until everyone was at peace again. And before World War II, he argued to ban the use of aeroplanes in the war.
<ul><li>Rutherford, Ernest, Baron Rutherford of Nelson, of Cambridge . [Photograph]. Retrieved February 24, 2010, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition: http://school.eb.com/eb/art-115396 </li></ul><ul><li>Rutherford, Ernest, Baron Rutherford of Nelson, of Cambridge. (2010). In Encyclopedia Britannica . Retrieved February 25, 2010, from Encyclopedia Britannica 123helpme.com, Initials. (2010, February 25). </li></ul><ul><li>Ernest rutherford family life. Retrieved from http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=64504 Online School Edition: http://school.eb.com/eb/article-278478 </li></ul><ul><li>Unknown, Initials. (2009). Rutherford, Ernest Rutherford, 1 st Baron.. Columbia electronic encyclopedia, 6 th edition. Retrieved (2009, October 1) from http://proxygsusput.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=39029474&site=ehost-live </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.worldandi.com/specialreport/rutherford/rutherford.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1908/rutherford-bio.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Kids/FamousNewZealanders/Ernest.asp </li></ul>.::Citations::.