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Ernest Rutherford. Portrait of the New Zealand- born British physicist Sir Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), pioneer of nuclear physics. He identified three types of ionising radiations produced by radioactive decay which he called alpha, beta and gamma rays. He later proved that alpha rays were helium atoms deprived of two electrons. In 1911 he elaborated an atomic model in which the positive charge of the atom (protons) was concentrated in a very small region, the nucleus. He also showed that the structure of an atom could be changed (nuclear transmutation) by bombarding it with alpha particles. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry.
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