• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Rutherford’s Alpha-Particle Scattering Experiment

Extracts from this document...


Rutherford's Alpha-Particle Scattering Experiment Early Views of the Atom i. Around 400 BC a Greek scientist called Democritus said that matter was made up of small particles he named 'Atoma' (meaning indivisible). ii. In 1804 John Dalton stated that matter consisted of tiny solid balls he called 'Atoms'. Backdrop of Rutherford's Experiment At the turn of the century, there was little known about atoms except that they contained electrons. J. J. Thompson discovered the electron in 1897, and there was considerable speculation about where these negatively charged particles existed in nature. Matter is electrically neutral; some positive charge must balance the charge of the electron. These was what the scientist thought at that time. One popular theory of the time was called the 'plum-pudding model'. This model, invented by Thompson, envisioned matter made of atoms that were spheres of positive charge spiked with electrons throughout. ...read more.


The vast majority of the alpha particles are deflected very little as they travel through the foil; 2. A tiny minority are deflected through large angles or rebounded. Conclusions Through these results, they drew some imagination: 1. The nucleus is so small that the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of a given alpha particle motoring right on through the gold foil as if nothing were there. It turns out that the atom is a very empty place. 2. Some alphas, by pure random chance, will pass near some gold atom nuclei during their passage through the foil and will be slightly deflected. By pure chance, some or all of the small deflections will add up and shove the alpha particle off a straight-line path. Those alphas will emerge slightly deviated (say one or two degrees) from a straight-line path. 3. A very, very few alphas, by pure, random chance, will hit a nucleus almost head-on. ...read more.


The diameter of a gold atom is about 0.3�10-9m (=0.3nm). The nucleons are made up of quarks, and have a radius of about 0.8 fm (0.8 ? 10-15) in diameter. If an atom were the size of a football stadium, with the electrons out around the upper deck, the nucleus down at midfield would be smaller than the coin flipped at the start of the game. If the nucleus were represented in a model by a pea (which had a length of 5-7mm): Let the diameter of a pea is 6mm. The diameter of the atomic model is 6 � 105 mm = 600 m The volume of the atomic model is 3003 � 3/4 � ? � 400m � 400m � 400m Therefore, the atomic model should be a sphere which has a radius of 300m, or a cube which has each side of 400m. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Radioactivity essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Rutherford's Alpha Particle Scattering Experiment:The discovery of the Nucleus...

    4 star(s)

    The electric field from a sphere of charge reaches its maximum on the surface. Therefore, for a given charge, assumed spherically distributed, the only way to get a stronger field is to compress it into a smaller sphere. Rutherford concluded that he could only explain the large alpha deflections if

  2. Brief History of the atom model.

    John Dalton John Dalton was an English schoolteacher (aren't teachers great?) in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In 1808 Dalton proposed an explanation for the three laws that the early chemists had discovered. Dalton reasoned the only explanation was the existance of atoms.

  1. Effects of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    As this blast wave moves, it creates static overpressure. This static overpressure then in turn creates dynamic pressure. The static overpressure has the power to crush buildings. The dynamic pressure creates winds, which have the power to blow down trees (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1982).

  2. Atomic Theory of Matter.

    Soviet scientists have reported evidence of the elements through number 110 but this remains unconfirmed. British scientists believe they have observed element number 112. If this is so, the atom of this new element would be the most massive ever observed.

  1. Physics - 21st Century Mobilephones

    A phone needs a network of masts. Each one gives signals to 'phones' around it. [3] Microwaves have two effects; they can be absorbed by water causing heat so they can heat up living tissue. Microwaves can also cause mutations in your cells if they pass through your body.

  2. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power and fossil fuels and which is the ...

    2. Boiler 1. The coal / air mixture ignites instantly in the boiler. 2. Millions of litres of purified water are pumped through tubes inside the boiler. 3. Intense heat from the burning coal turns the purified water in the boiler. 3. Stack Burning coal produces carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work