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Ernst Lord Rutherford is perhaps New Zealand’s best-known scientist and features on our $100 note.

(Source: WikiMedia Commons.)

(Source: WikiMedia Commons.)

His story is outlined at many sites, including a biography at the Nobel Prize website and the Rutherford.org website, which also includes pages about the myths about Rutherford (the most widely held, in NZ at least, would be that he got his Nobel Prize for ‘splitting the atom’), his birthplace and other information.

Among Rutherford’s achievements were simple particle bombardment experiments to reveal aspects of the inner structure of atoms. The video below, taken from Backstage Science’s growing collection, which features a present-day replication of Rutherford’s famous gold foil experiment, in which in a beam of alpha particles shot at a gold foil sheet, most would pass through but a few would be deflected or bounce back:

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The Nobel Prize website has a video of Rutherford talking about his work.

If you’d like like a ‘lite’ explanation of the science, this video is part of a larger documentary and features Dr. Cox explaining this experiment:

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