ADS BY GOOGLE
(Nelson, New Zealand, 1871-London, 1937) British chemist and physicist. After graduating, in 1893, in Christchurch (New Zealand), Ernest Rutherford moved to the University of Cambridge (1895) to work as an Assistant of JJ. Thomson. In 1898 he was appointed Professor at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Upon his return to the United Kingdom (1907), he joined the teaching at the University of Manchester, and in 1919 succeeded the own Thomson as the director of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.
For his work in the field of atomic physics, Ernest Rutherford is considered one of the fathers of this discipline. It also investigated on the detection of electromagnetic radiation and on the ionization of the air produced by the rays x. studied radioactive emissions discovered by H. Becquerel, and managed to classify them in alpha rays, beta, and gamma.
In 1902, in collaboration with F. Soddy, Rutherford made the theory on natural radioactivity associated with spontaneous elements transformations. He collaborated with H. Geiger in the development known as Geiger counter radiation meter, and showed (1908) that alpha particles are helium (more exactly, nuclei of helium atom) and ions, in 1911, described a new atomic model (Rutherford's Atomic model), which would be subsequently perfected by N. Bohr.
According to this model, the atom was a central core which was concentrated the almost all of the mass, as well as the positive electrical charges, and a wrap or bark of electrons (negative electric charge). In addition, he managed to demonstrate experimentally the mentioned theory from deviations that occurred in the path of the particles emitted by radioactive substances when they are bombarded atoms.
The experiments carried out by Rutherford also allowed the establishment of an order of magnitude for the actual dimensions of the atomic nucleus. During the first world war he studied the detection of submarines by sound waves, so it was one of the forerunners of the sonar.
In addition, he managed the first artificial transmutation of chemical elements (1919) by the bombing of an atom of nitrogen with alpha particles. The changes are due to the ability to transform that has an atom subjected to bombardment with particles able to penetrate at its core. Very shortly after its discovery the characteristics of transmutations were needed and it was found that the kinetic energy of the protons emitted in the process could be higher than the particles incidents, so that the internal energy of the nucleus had to intervene the transmutation. In 1923, after photographing about 400,000 trajectories of particles with the help of a camera of bubbles (Wilson Chamber), Blackett could describe eight transmutations and establish the reaction that had taken place.
Rutherford received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908 in recognition to his investigations into the disintegration of the elements. Among other honors, he was elected member (1903) and President (1925-1930) of the Royal Society of London and the titles of sir (1914) and baron Rutherford of Nelson (1931) was awarded. On his death, his remains were buried at Westminster Abbey.