AUTHORAndrade, E. N. da C.
TITLEThe Rutherford Memorial Lecture, 1957: The Birth of the Nuclear Atom
PERIODICAL TITLEProceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
ISSUE NUMBER1239 (April 22)
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Adapted from the Rutherford Memorial Lecture delivered in 1957, this article tracks the historical discovery of the nuclear atom, giving special prominence to the foundational work done by atomic physicists Niels Bohr, Walther Kossel, and Ernest Rutherford. It quotes the publications of early atomists from the 19th and early 20th centuries, listing the scientists whose pioneering theories laid the groundwork for later atomic breakthroughs. The author, physicist E. N. da C. Andrade, who presented the original lecture, notes how little attention was initially given to Rutherford’s seminal article in 1911 entitled “The Scattering of α and β Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom,” which Andrade eloquently claims “gave the nuclear atom to the world” (p. 443). The article includes excerpts from personal correspondence of Rutherford as well as some brief anecdotal remarks by the author, who worked with Rutherford in the 1910s. A comprehensive bibliography is included.

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