"The father of nuclear energy," Ernest Rutherford was one of the greatest physicists of all time. He was the primary founder of nuclear physics. His list of accomplishments and contributions to his field is nearly endless. His greatest contribution to science was with his nuclear theory of the atom.
Ernest Rutherford was born on August 30, 1871 in Spring Grove, New Zealand. He was the forth of twelve children of his wheelwright father, James and mother, Martha Rutherford. In 1887 Ernest won a scholarship to Nelson College, a secondary school; A scholarship here allowed him to enroll in Canterbury College. Graduating with a B.A. in 1892 and a M.A. in 1893, he stayed for a fifth year to do research in physics. In this fifth year Rutherford found that electromagnetic waves could be detected even after they had passed through brick walls. This caused him to be awarded with a scholarship, which provided further education at Cambridge.
In 1895 Rutherford began his first work in the field with Sir J.J Thomson at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. In 1897 he showed that the radiation emitted by uranium differs from X rays and is composed of two distinct types, which he named alpha and beta rays.
Working at McGill University in Montreal, after being appointed to the chair of physics, Rutherford and English chemist Frederick Soddy concluded that radioactivity was a process in which atoms of one element spontaneously disintegrate into atoms of an entirely different element. Together the two men created a modern theory of radioactivity. Rutherford set this theory forth in his book, Radio-activity, written in 1904.
In 1903 Rutherford showed that alpha rays are composed of positively charged particles. In 1907 he went to the Victoria University of Manchester to continue his research. In 1908...