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Short Stories of Science and Invention

A Collection of Radio Talks by
Charles F. Kettering


22.  Unraveling the Atom

Sir Ernest Rutherford

    In 1911 Sir Ernest Rutherford of the University of Manchester in England formulated a model of the atom which was a forerunner of our present conception. He described the atom as being made up of a very small but very heavy nucleus carrying positive electrical charges and around this nucleus the negative electrons are spaced in various configurations.

    In 1913 Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist extended Rutherford's theory and advanced the idea that the electrons revolve about the nucleus of the atom, similar to the planets revolving around the sun.
Rutherford also suggested that if the nucleus of an atom could be hit hard enough to fracture it different kinds of atoms would be produced.

    In 1919 he accomplished the first artificial transmutation. After this experiment his only regret was that he did not have a more powerful hammer or projectile with which to strike the atom. This was provided in 1931 when Dr. E. O. Lawrence of the University of California invented the cyclotron which can accelerate positively charged particles to speeds as high as 10,000 miles per second. In 1932 while the Frenchman, Joliot and his wife, Irene Curie, were bombarding atoms of Beryllium with particles from radioactive Polonium, they observed a strange effect.


- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

by Ian Ellis
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