I was born on August 30, 1871, in New Zealand. My family consists of seven sons and five daughters. My father immigrated to New Zealand in 1842. My mother was an English teacher who left a bit later, in 1855.
I received a scholarship and proceeded to the University of New Zealand in 1889. Here, I joined Canterbury College and graduated in 1893 with a double first in Mathematics and Physics. Prior to working and studying there for another year, I received a B.Sc. degree.
Work in Joules F = MA Energy = Work
One of my initial researches in New Zealand dealt with the magnetic properties of iron exposed to high-frequency oscillations. The thesis that I used was, "Entitled Magnetization of Iron by High-Frequency Discharges." I was one of the first to design highly original experiments with high-frequency, alternating currents.
I was the main figure responsible for the study of radioactivity. With the concept of the nuclear atom, this led to the exploration of nuclear physics.
In 1909, an undergraduate named Ernest Marsden was doing a research project. I gave him some suggestions and he found that some of the alphas turned more than 90 degrees. To me, “it was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.”
One successful experiment that I have conducted is the Gold-Foil experiment. In this experiment, I shot minute particles directly towards a sheet of solid gold. I then found that not all of the particles traveled through the gold. While most passed through the sheet, a few were deflected. From this, I concluded that all atoms have a nucleus.