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What did Ernest Rutherford discover about the atom?

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Ernest Rutherford's famed Gold Foil Experiment of 1909 demonstrated that atoms were made up of a charged nucleus orbited by electrons. He published his findings in 1911 with a description of what he called the Rutherford model of the atom. While electrons had been described prior to this experiment, Rutherford was the first person to describe the existence of a small, charged atomic nucleus.

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What did Ernest Rutherford discover about the atom?
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Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment involved the passage and deflection of alpha particles through a thin sheet of gold. The deflection of the alpha particles occurred because the charged nucleus of the gold atoms changed the trajectory of the alpha particles. This observation was inconsistent with the current model of the atom, driving Rutherford's nucleus theory.

Prior to his discovery of the atomic nucleus, Rutherford received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 for his discovery of radioactive half-lives and his differentiation between alpha and beta radiation.

In 1917, Rutherford was the first person to successfully split an atom using nitrogen and alpha particles. This reaction led to his discovery of protons, which are contained in the atomic nucleus.

As a mentor, he was instrumental in James Chadwick's discovery of the neutron, a component of the atomic nucleus, in 1932.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did Ernest Rutherford accomplish?

    A:

    Through the Gold Foil Experiments he performed during his graduate studies, Ernest Rutherford discovered that atoms held a nucleus. These experiments and the findings were published in 1911. During this experiment, Rutherford's associate Hans Geiger initiated the beginnings of the Geiger counter as well.

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  • Q:

    What was Ernest Rutherford's atomic theory?

    A:

    Rutherford’s atomic theory was that an atom had a central positive nucleus with negative electrons orbiting it. He developed this theory with his gold foil experiment.

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  • Q:

    What did Niels Bohr discover about atoms?

    A:

    The Danish physicist Niels Bohr developed a model of the atom that combined Ernest Rutherford's discovery of the nucleus with the quantum ideas proposed by Max Planck. This solved the problem of why the electrons did not immediately collapse into the nucleus. Bohr received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery in 1922.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between ionic and covalent compounds?

    A:

    Ionic compounds are formed when electrons are transferred from one atom to another, while covalent compounds are formed when both atoms share their electrons, resulting in no loss or gain of electrons for either atom, according to HyperPhysics. The atoms of covalent bonds are bound more tightly and form more stable molecules when compared to the atoms of ionic bonds, which show attraction to other nearby atoms.

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