Ernest Rutherford’s Gold Foil Experiment was a major stepping stone one the way to discovering what the atom was really made up of. From the beginning of his research with alpha particles to his discovery of the atomic nucleus, Rutherford made many contributions to the microscopic world of the atom. The Rutherford Experiment, otherwise known as the Gold Foil Experiment, was the crown of his achievements, and it was during this experiment that he discovered the atomic nucleus. (Aydin &Hanuscin, p.59) He made this happen by putting his past research on alpha particles to the test, such as the knowledge that an alpha particle should be less massive than the atom. Therefore the alpha particles should pass directly through the atom, unfazed. When the particles started to reflect off of the atoms in obtuse angles, Rutherford began to question the plum pudding model of the atom. It did not take him long to scientifically prove the model wrong, it only took about 2 years after the initial experiment to get enough proof to disprove the Plum Pudding Model and publish his own atomic model, The Rutherford Model. This article will be focusing on Rutherford’s Gold Foil experiment and how the experiment’s results changed how scientists would look at the structure of the atom for many years to come. (Nagendrappa, p.1013,1014)
The Gold Foil Experiment
In the years before Ernest Rutherford and his associates, Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, did the Gold Foil experiment, scientists explained the structure of the atom using the Plum Pudding Model. The Plum Pudding model stated that the atom was solid and only had protons and electrons mixed together in a single piece of matter. In 1906, Rutherford, Geiger, and Marsdon decided to test the Plum Pudding model by firing alpha particles at a piece of gold foil. Their results would revolutionize the model of atomic structure to one that is similar than the model used today. By examining the Gold Foil Experiment one can...
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