Picture of Ernest Rutherford
The Bettmann Archive. From painting by James Gunn (1932).
Ernest Rutherford was a New Zealand-born physicist who lived between 1871-1937. He is considered the father of nuclear physics because of his discoveries on atomic structure. Rutherford believed that an atom is like a small planetary system, with the protons and neutrons in the center (like the sun), circled by electrons (like planets).
Rutherford also studied radioactivity. He named and identified alpha and beta particles, and showed how an element changes when it experiences radioactive decay.
You might also be interested in:
How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more
Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who lived between 1885-1962. He investigated atomic structure, modifying Rutherford's old model of an atom. Bohr also claimed that an atom's chemical properties are determined...more
Florence Bascom was one of the first female geologists in the United States and her fellow scientists thought she was one of the nation’s most important geologists. She lived from 1862 until 1945 and...more
Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist who lived between 1867-1934. She contributed greatly to our understanding of radioactivity and the effects of x-rays. She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw,...more
Albert Einstein was a German physicist who lived between 1879-1955. Probably the most well-known scientist of the twentieth century, Einstein came up with many original theories and invented modern physics....more
Robert Goddard was an American physicist who lived between 1882-1945. He was a pioneer of modern rocketry who discovered that liquid fuel is more efficient than solid fuel. Although Goddard's first rocket...more
Werner Heisenberg was a German physicist who lived between 1901-1976. He developed new theories in quantum mechanics about the behavior of electrons which agreed with the results of previous experiments....more
Edwin Hubble was an American astronomer who lived between 1889-1953. His observations of galaxies helped him develop the idea of an expanding universe, which forms the basis of modern cosmology, the study...more