When did Rutherford first split the atom?

Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) was a physicist who studied radioactivity. He found several different forms of radiation and also discovered that elements change as a result of radioactive decay. He received the Nobel Prize for his work. Rutherford went on to discover the nucleus of the atom, and in 1919 he finally succeeded in splitting an atom for the first time.

He discovered the atom as a tiny, dense, positively charged core called a nucleus, in which nearly all the mass is concentrated, around which the light, negative constituents, called electrons, circulate at some distance, much like planets revolving around the Sun.

Fact File

Atoms become linked to other atoms by electrical bonds, which work rather like chemical hooks. Some atoms only carry one of these hooks while others may have many.


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