=Ernest Rutherford and the Gold Foil Experiment

From jmoney114 and physick.wikispaces.com

I introduce to you.....

200px-Ernest_Rutherford_cropped.jpg Ernest Rutherford!

To many Rutherford is known as the "Father of nuclear physics"
A little bit of background information about Rutherford.
  • He was born on August 30th, 1871 in New Zealand
  • He recieved education at government schools and at the age of 16 entered Nelson Collegiate college
  • In 1889 he was awarded a schlorship, and went to the University of New Zealand, he graduated with a double bachelor in math and physical sciences
  • During this same year, he was awarded a Science schlorship which allowed him to go to Trinity college and study under J.J Thompson
  • In 1898 a spot at McGill university for the chair of physics opened up, and he left for Canada.
  • While at the University of Manchester he completed an experiment called The Gold Foil Experiment!


The experiment was basically this:

Source of Particles + Gold Foil (sheet form) + detecting screen
image_sci_matter001.jpg 1483448-745665-gold-foil-abstract-texture.jpg 120-inch-electric-projector-screen-0.jpg
The trick was that when the particles hit the detecting screen a flash of light could be seen, therefore detecting the particles and thier directions!

Rutherfords hypothesis was this:
He thought that since the atom is basically empty space (or so he believed at this time) that many of the particles would fly right through the foil, not being affected by the tiny electrons within the atom.

Turns out there was something else happening!
a small portion of the light flashes were deflecting at angles greater than 90 degrees, which did not make sense to what Rutherford hypothesized.

Rutherford decided that this meant that was something large and dense (in comparison to the electron) within the atom that was causing this type of deflection affect.
Rutherford decided that this mass was to be called the nucleus.

This Link Below gives you a hands on view of what the Gold Foil experiment was :)
Gold Foil Animation


1. www.wikimedia.org/ernestrutherford
2. www.nobelpeaceprize.org/chemistry/rutherfordbio
3. www.ldindustries.ca