Ernest Rutherford, a Famous Physicist of the Early 20th Century

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  • Published : November 6, 2011
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Matthew Rose
Mr. Schwartz
8 March 2011
Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford was one of the most famous physicists of the early 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908 for his work on atomic emissions and his contributions that led to the discovery of atomic fission.

Ernest Rutherford was born in Nelson, New Zealand on August 30, 1871. His father was James Rutherford and his Mother was Martha Thompson. His father was a wheelwright, a person who builds and repairs wheels. His mother was a proper English schoolteacher. His whole families, including grandfather, were émigrés’ to New Zealand in 1842. Ernest was the fourth child and the second son in a large family of seven sons and five daughters.

Early education for Ernest Rutherford consisted of long hours in Government schools. Ernest was a good student who worked hard. His parents instilled in him a great work ethic and taught him to value education. His parents recognized that Ernest was very intelligent and encouraged him in his studies. While Ernest was gifted in Mathematics and Science, his mother encouraged him to seek balance in his studies and promoted study in the Arts, Literature, and History. Ernest received a well-rounded education early in his childhood. Not only was he gifted in the Sciences, but expressed a great interest in all academics. He loved Poetry and Music as well as Science and Math.

In 1888, Ernest entered the Nelson Collegiate School, at the age of 16. One year later, in 1889, he was offered a University scholarship having completed a two year program in just one year. He entered the University of New Zealand on another full scholarship. Here he entered Canterbury College. He graduated with an M.A. in 1893 with a double major in Mathematics and Physical Science. He continued with research work at Canterbury College and received, one year another B. Sc. Degree in Physics. In that same year, 1894, he was awarded an 1851 Exhibition Science Scholarship,...
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