Ernest Rutherford, considered one of the fathers of atomic physics

Nelson, New Zealand, 1871 – London, 1937

British physicist and chemist. After graduating in 1893 in Christchurch, New Zealand, Ernest Rutherford moved to Cambridge University (1895) to work as JJ's assistant. Thomson. In 1898 he was appointed professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. On his return to the United Kingdom (1907), he joined the teaching staff at the University of Manchester, and in 1919 he succeeded Thomson himself as director of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University.

For his work in the field of atomic physics, Ernest Rutherford is considered one of the fathers of this discipline. He also investigated the detection of electromagnetic radiation and the ionization of the air produced by X-rays. He studied the radioactive emissions discovered by H. Becquerel and managed to classify them into alpha, beta, and gamma rays.

In 1902, in collaboration with F. Soddy, Rutherford formulated the theory of natural radioactivity associated with spontaneous transformations of elements. He collaborated with H. Geiger in the development of the radiation counter known as the Geiger counter, and demonstrated (1908) that alpha particles are helium ions (more precisely, nuclei of the helium atom) and, in 1911, described a new atomic model (Rutherford's atomic model), which would later be perfected by N. Bohr.

According to this model, in the atom, there was a central nucleus in which almost all of the mass was concentrated, as well as the positive electrical charges, and an envelope or crust of electrons (negative electrical charge). In addition, he managed to experimentally demonstrate the aforementioned theory from the deviations that occurred in the trajectory of the particles emitted by radioactive substances when the atoms were bombarded with them.

The experiments carried out by Rutherford also allowed the establishment of an order of magnitude for the real dimensions of the atomic nucleus. During World War I he studied the detection of submarines using sound waves, so he was one of the forerunners of sonar.

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