Ernest Rutherford

August 30, 1871 - October 19, 1937

Election Year: 1911
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Ernest Rutherford is widely regarded as the “father of nuclear physics.” He studied the disintegration of radioactivity and found that heavy elements decay into lighter elements over a fixed period of time, which led him to propose the idea of “half-life.” In addition, he discovered the nucleus of an atom and constructed the model that consisted of a positively charged center with orbiting, negatively charged electrons. In 1908 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Rutherford "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances."

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