And the (Nobel) Award Goes to... Ernest Rutherford

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  • Topic: Nuclear fission, Neutron, Ernest Rutherford
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  • Published : May 14, 2013
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And The (Nobel) Award Goes To…
Ernest Rutherford was born at Spring Grove near Nelson, New Zealand to a farmer named James Rutherford and his wife Martha Thompson. James had immigrated to New Zealand from Perth, Scotland to raise a home and a family. Ernest studied at Havelock School then Nelson College where he was studying when he won a scholarship to study at Canterbury College, the University of New Zealand. After gaining his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Bachelor of Science Ernest took two years for research at the forefront of electrical technology before traveling to England for postgraduate study at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. In 1898 Rutherford succeed Hugh Callendar in the chair of Macdonald Professor of physics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 1900 he gained a Doctor of Science from the University of New Zealand and married Mary Georgina Newton. Still a professor at McGill University, Rutherford does his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances that gets him to earn the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1908.

Rutherford's research, and work done under him as laboratory director, established the nuclear structure of the atom and the essential nature of radioactive decay. Radioactive decay is the process by which an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting ionizing particles. This emission is spontaneous, in which the atom decays without any physical interaction with another particle from outside the atom. Radioactive decay usually happens due to a process which is confined to the nucleus of the unstable atom, but in some cases an inner electron of the radioactive atom is also necessary to the process. Rutherford’s team had also demonstrated artificially induced nuclear transmutation. Nuclear transmutation is the change of an atom of one chemical element or isotope into an atom of another element or isotope. This can either...
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