Rutherford Scattering

Michael Fowler, University of Virginia

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Rutherford discovered the nucleus by scattering alpha particles from a gold atom, and finding the scattering was identical to that from a very compact central charged object. For smaller nuclei, he found the alphas bounced off the nuclear surface, giving a different scattering pattern, and making it possible to estimate nuclear size. We illustrate that here by allowing alpha speeds faster than were available to Rutherford.