• Kerry KuehnEmail author
Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)


In the previous chapter we studied the first half of Rutherford’s 1906 Philosophical Magazine article in which he described in detail how he was able to accurately measure the properties of \(\alpha \)-particles expelled from radium. By allowing them to pass between a set of electrified plates, he was able to first deduce the ratio \(\frac {mu^2}{e}\). Here \(m\), \(u\), and \(E\) are the mass, velocity and charge of the particles, respectively. Next, by measuring the deflection of \(\alpha \)-particles in a magnetic field, he was able to deduce the ratio \(\frac {mu}{e}\). Finally, by combining these results he was able to obtain the velocity and the charge-to-mass ratio of the \(\alpha \)-particles. Now we turn to the second half of Rutherford’s paper, in which he broadens his study by considering \(\alpha \)-particles ejected from a host of other radioactive isotopes. Rutherford continues to use the original names which were adopted for these isotopes (e.g. radium \(A\), radium \(C\), radium \(F\) and radium emanation) so you may find it helpful to spend a few minutes looking up the modern naming conventions for each of these isotopes before proceeding.1 What do the \(\alpha \)-particles ejected from all these isotopes have in common? Is Rutherford able to finally determine the identity of these mysterious particles?


Helium Atom Copper Plate Photographic Plate Elute Solution Radium Emanation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wisconsin Lutheran CollegeMilwaukeeUSA

Personalised recommendations