What Did Ernest Rutherford Invent?


Quick Answer

Ernest Rutherford invented an electromagnetic wave detector which led to his discoveries of alpha and beta radiation. Rutherford received numerous awards throughout his life for his scientific accomplishments, including the Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry in 1908.

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Full Answer

Rutherford's electromagnetic wave detector consisted of a magnetizing coil with iron wire. In 1897, he studied the effect that electric fields and X-rays had on the behavior of ions. In 1899, Rutherford discovered alpha and beta rays, or particle beams, in uranium radiation by deflecting them with electric and magnetic fields. He also named gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic radiation.

Rutherford theorized radioactive decay in terms of the half-life, which is the rate at which half of the intensity of radiation decreases. He also postulated the concept of the nucleus, which is the dense center of an atom, and named the proton and neutron.

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