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Rutherford’s Experiment: Nuclear atom

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INTERVIEWER: In 1910, Rutherford and his coworkers were studying the angles at which alpha particles were scattered as they pass through a thin gold foil. Most of the alpha particles passed through undeflected. However, a few were found to be scattered at large angles, some even back in the direction from which they had come. This meant that they had collided with an object much more massive than the alpha particles themselves, yet so small that only a few alpha particles encountered them. This atomic level view shows what is happening. Most of the atom is occupied by the low mass electrons. The nucleus is small and massive. When an alpha particle encounters a nucleus, it is scattered at a large angle.