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PROFESSOR PETER FOWLER. COLOURED BY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROFESSOR PETER FOWLER. COLOURED BY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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The New Zealand born physicist Sir Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) taking a swim off the coast of Dorset (1931). In 1903, together with F. Soddy, he proposed that radioactive decay occurs by successive and spontaneous disintegrations of atoms. 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. He is considered to be the father of nuclear physics and in 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry.
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