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Rutherford and radio

Activity: Public engagement and outreachPublic lecture/debate/seminar


"Rutherford and radio" at the Rutherford 100 event

While studying in Christchurch, the young Ernest Rutherford was well-known for demonstrating wireless experiments, essentially re-creating Heinrich Hertz’s experiments with newly-discovered radio waves. After arriving in England, his first research work yielded a magnetic detector of electrical waves, but Rutherford’s attention soon turned to X-rays and the atom. Two decades later, radio pioneer Edward Appleton joined Rutherford’s team at the Cavendish Laboratory as they strove to detect individual alpha particles. But, encouraged by Rutherford, Appleton followed an interest in radio he had developed during the first world war. Rutherford’s protégé went on to found the field of radio science and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1947 for his investigations of the physics of the upper atmosphere. This talk reveals how his groundbreaking work opened up new areas of science and technology, including radio communications, ionospheric research and radio astronomy.


TitleRutherford 100: Rutherford and Radio
CityRutherford Appleton Laboratory
CountryUnited Kingdom