Ernest Lord Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was born on August 30, 1871, in Nelson, New Zealand, the fourth child and second son in a family of seven sons and five daughters. His father James Rutherford, a Scottish wheelwright.  He was educated at the Nelson Collegiate Schooland then the University of New Zealand, Wellington.  In 1893 with a double first in Mathematics and Physical Science and he continued with research work.  In 1851 he was awarded a scholarship which enabled him to go to Cambridge.  In 1898 he took up the Macdonald Chair of Physics at McGill University, Montreal.

Rutherford returned to England in 1907 to become Langworthy Professor of Physics in the University of Manchester.  There he did the experiments with Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden that led to the discovery of the nuclear nature of atoms. Rutherford was knighted in 1914 and 1919 he accepted an invitation to become the Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge.

In 1931 he was created Baron Rutherford of Nelson.  In 1937 he died following an operation for a hernia and he was buried in Westminster Abbey.  This plaque is found on the wall of Manchester Museum  below the Coupland Street sign just off Oxford Road

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