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When did deflection occur and when did diffraction occur?

  1. Jun 15, 2005 #1
    doing some revision and am getting slightly confused. When Rutherford did his experiment when did deflection occur and when did defraction occur? Is it when a alpha paticle is fired through gold foil (10^-6 thick) it defracted, and when alpha is fired through a necleus it deflected. Any help will be great, thanks,

    yasmin and dougy
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2005 #2


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    The experiments involving gold foil showed Rutherford that atoms were each mostly empty space with a tiny nucleus. He concluded this from the fact that some alpha particles were scattered at large angles, while most went through untouched. I don't see how diffraction gets involved at all.
  4. Jun 15, 2005 #3


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    I borrowed the following bibliographical information from

    * The head of the Cavendish Laboratory, Professor J. J. Thomson, recognised Rutherford's ability as a researcher and invited Rutherford to work with him.
    * Rutherford became interested in radioactivity after radioactive atoms were discovered in 1896. He discovered that radioactive atoms gave off two different types of rays, which he named alpha and beta rays.
    * In 1898 Rutherford took up the post of Professor of Physics at McGill University in Montreal.
    * Rutherford continued his researches into radioactivity at McGill, discovering radon, a radioactive gas. He also found that some heavy atoms break down into lighter atoms.
    * In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the transmutation of elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances.
    * It was Rutherford's work on the rate of decay of uranium atoms that led to the development of radioactive dating.
    * In 1907 Rutherford accepted a position at Manchester University. Once there, with a colleague, Hans Geiger, Rutherford developed a method that used electricity to detect and measure radioactive atoms.
    * In 1911 he worked out a nuclear model of the atom in which almost all of the mass of an atom is concentrated in a very small nucleus. A Danish physicist, Neils Bohr worked on the atomic model with Rutherford, and together they produced the model of a tiny nucleus surrounded by orbiting electrons, which is still used today to explain atomic theory.
    * Back in England, during the following years of the First World War, Rutherford worked on acoustic methods of detecting submarines.
    * Resuming his work on radioactivity after the war, Rutherford discovered that by bombarding light atoms with alpha rays, and changing nitrogen into oxygen, it would be possible to split the atom.
    * By 1919 Rutherford had become the Director of the Cavendish Laboratory.
    * In 1931 Ruther ford was made a peer, becoming Ernest, Lord Rutherford. He included in his coat of arms a kiwi and a Māori warrior.
    * Ernest Rutherford died on 19 October, 1937, partly as a result of delays in operating on a problem hernia.
  5. Jun 15, 2005 #4


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    What are "defracted" and "deflected" ?

    What is a nucleus ? Does a gold foil not have any ?
  6. Jun 16, 2005 #5

    Meir Achuz

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    In R's expt, the alpha particle's scattered form the gold atoms.
    There was no diffraction.
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