By the end of the 19th century it was already understood that the world could be divided into smaller and smaller parts. In 1911 Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), Chair of Physics at the University of Manchester, revealed the nature of these parts.
Rutherford developed a model which described atoms as structured much like our Solar System, with small particles called electrons circling a dense nucleus at the centre.
Important as this was, arguably his greatest discovery occurred six years later. In 1917 he showed that if radioactive particles were fired at the nucleus of a nitrogen atom it would disintegrate and release protons. Rutherford had split the atom and created the first artificially induced nuclear reaction.
- North West
- University of Manchester, Manchester
- Key Individuals
- Ernest Rutherford,