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By J. L. Heilbron

An enticing biography that captures the buzz of the early days of nuclear physics, Ernest Rutherford tells the tale of the down-to-earth New Zealander who grew to become one of many best pioneers of subatomic physics. Rutherford's achievements have been various and included:* Inventing a detector for electromagnetic waves* researching the life of alpha and beta rays in uranium radiation* growing (with Frederick Soddy) the "disintegration idea" of radioactivity, which regards radioactive phenomena as atomic -- no longer molecular -- tactics * Demonstrating that the internal constructions of components correspond with a bunch of strains that signify them, which can then be assigned an atomic quantity and, extra vital, the houses of every point will be outlined through this quantity * And his maximum contribution of all - he stumbled on that the atom had a nucleus and that it contained the definitely charged proton From his early days as a scholarship scholar to the tip of his existence as he persisted to paintings in his lab, Ernest Rutherford unearths the lifestyles and occasions of 1 of the best minds of the 20th century.

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Extra resources for Ernest Rutherford: And the Explosion of Atoms (Oxford Portraits in Science)

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Their main evidence was an experiment of Rutherford’s that mater ialized the alpha ray. Previous attempts by Rutherford and others to bend alpha rays electrically or magnetically had failed. That was the main evidence for regarding them as immaterial agents like X rays. Rutherford finally succeeded in bending the paths of alpha particles by applying a very strong electric field to the radiation from a good bit of radium, some 19,000 times as strong as uranium, which Marie Curie had given him. In his enthusiasm over this feat, Rutherford inadvertently grounded his apparatus through himself and received a great shock.

Following this schedule, he stayed out of trouble and found that the emanation consisted of radioactive particles and that it, not the thorium directly, activated the walls of the tube. With these puzzling results in hand, Rutherford at last broke off work, gave examinations to his students, and boarded the train to San Francisco to catch the steamer to New Zealand. The trip took a month. That gave him time to worry about his wedding. “I hope you are not figuring on a public wedding for me to make an ass of myself as all men do.

One tube contained the alpha-emitting source on a small glass vessel with walls thick enough to retain the source but thin enough to pass alpha particles. The second tube contained a dilute gas under an electric field, as in the apparatus with which Rutherford had discovered alpha and beta rays. The length of the firing tube and the size of the hole ensured that only one alpha particle at a time entered the counting chamber. When it did, it ionized the gas and a current passed to a wire running down the axis of the tube.

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