Ernest Rutherford – Father of Radioactivity

Ernest Rutherford contributions to research into radioactivity and the nature of an atom, Who he collaborated with over the years and his role as a mentor to other researchers and what their contributions were.

Earnest Rutherford is an iconic figure in nuclear science especially in the study of the atom, which contributed greatly to the development of physics. He made various discoveries in nuclear physics and radioactivity. The various discoveries he made contributed greatly to the advancement of the atomic knowledge and thus enhancing the various subjects especially physics. He made various discoveries that included beta and alpha rays, which helped in coming up with the theory of radioactivity (L’Annunziata, 2012). He came up with the nuclear composition of the atom through various experiments using the alpha rays directed towards atoms.  He pioneered in constructing experiments using alternating currents with high frequency. He further came up with an electromagnetic waves detector. He worked together with Thompson a professor at Cambridge on experiments regarding the behavior of ions in gases that had x-rays passed through them. He further worked with him on experiments concerning the movement of ions in varying electric fields. He discovered the beta and alpha rays in 1988 from radiation emanating from uranium.

He collaborated with Frederick Soddy where they studied transmutation of elements. He discovered the half-life of radioactive materials and he came up with various applications that further helped to determine the age of the earth. Frederick Soddy worked with earnest Marsden and Hans Geiger where they discovered that the atom had a nuclear nature. The investigation led to the Rutherford model of the atom where the nucleus, the central part of the atom consisted of positive orbited by negatively charged electrons. He pioneers and Transmutating one atom into another, when he did the conversion of nitrogen to oxygen using a nuclear reaction. He further collaborated with Niels Bohr where he theorized on the existence of particles in the nucleus called neutrons and their importance in the atom.

Rutherford mentored many students who went ahead to win noble prices in their work on physics and especially the atom. He mentored Chadwick who discovered the neutron, Walton and Cockcroft who split the atom with the use of particle accelerator, together with Appleton who was instrumental in discovering the ionosphere.

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