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Biographical entry Rutherford, Ernest (1871 - 1937)


30 August 1871
New Zealand
19 October 1937


Ernest Rutherford was appointed Director of the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge in 1919 where he specialised in nuclear physics, having previously been Professor of Physics, McGill University 1898-1907 and Manchester University 1907-1919. He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1908.


Born 30 August 1871. Died 19 October 1937. Kt cr 1914, OM 1925, Peer (Baron Rutherford of Nelson) 1931.Educated Canterbury College, Christchurch (BA 1892, MA 1893, BSc 1894) and Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. Professor of physics, McGill University 1898-1907, Professor of physics, University of Manchester 1907-19, Director, Cavendish Laboratory 1919-37, professor of natural philosophy, Royal Institution, London 1921-37. Bakerian lecture, Royal Society 1904, Silliman lectures, Yale University 1905, Rumford Medal, Royal Society 1904, Nobel Prize for chemistry 1908, Bakerian Lecture, Royal Society 1920, Copley Medal, Royal Society 1922. President, Section A, British Association for the Advancement of Science 1909, President, British Association for the Advancement of Science 1925, President, Royal Society 1925-30.

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Ernest Rutherford - Records, 1908 - 1933, MS 077; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details
  • John Percival Vissing Madsen - Records, 1906 - 1969, MS 072; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details
  • Leonard George Holden Huxley - Records, 1933 - 1948, MS 102; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Campbell, John, Rutherford: Scientist Supreme (Christchurch, NZ: AAS Publications, 1999), 531 pp. Details
  • Reeves, Richard, A Force of Nature: the Frontier Genius of Ernst Rutherford (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2008), 207 pp. Details

CD Roms

  • Ashurst, Gillian (director and editor), Campbell, John, Rutherford [videorecording] : the life and work of Ernest Rutherford ([Auckland, N.Z.]: Spacegirl Productions, 2011). Details

Journal Articles

  • Davies, Susan, 'Rutherford and Physics in Australia', Australian Physicist, 20 (October) (1983), 219-223. Details
  • Dean, Katrina, 'Inscribing Settler Science: Ernest Rutherford, Thomas Laby and the Making of Careers in Physics', History of Science, 41 (2003), 217-240. Details


Resource Sections

See also

McCarthy, G.J.