COLLOQUIUM: 103 years ago, Ernest Rutherford discovered the nucleus and subatomic physics

September 29 2014, 12:00pm -  Seminar room

Speaker: Fabrice Feinstein (LUPM Université Montpellier)

Abstract: Ernest Rutherford is the at the origin of many discoveries that have laid the foundations of nuclear and elementary particle physics. With JJ Thompson, he described the ionization of gas by radiations. With F. Soddy, he invented the concept of disintegration of radioactive elements.

He was the first to measure the exponential decay of a radioactive element. He discovered alpha and beta radiations, and demonstrated that the alpha particles are ionized helium (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908). In 1911, extending the experiments of Geiger and Marsden, he proposed a model for the atom where the nucleus, very small compared to the atom, concentrates all the positive charges and most of the atomic mass, and is surrounded by electrons. In 1919, he produced the first nuclear reaction and showed that protons are constituents of the atomic nucleus. Later, he will put Chadwick on the track to the discovery of the neutron. I will describe some key experiments and concepts invented by Rutherford, that led us towards the understanding of the structure of matter.
As usual, at 12:00 at the IFAE seminar room.


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