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Milestones in the Life and Work of Ernest Rutherford Include:

1871 Aug 30. Born at Spring Grove (now Brightwater), Nelson Province, New Zealand.
1877 Family moves to Foxhill, Nelson Province.
1877-83 Attended Foxhill School, Nelson Province.
1883 Family moves to Havelock, Marlborough Sounds.
1883-6 Attended Havelock School.
1883 Baby brother Percy died of whooping cough.
1886 Brothers Herbert and Charles drown in the Marlborough Sounds.
1887 Won a Marlborough Scholarship to Nelson College.
1887-9 Attended Nelson College.
1889 Won a University of New Zealand Junior Scholarship.
1890-4 Attended Canterbury College, University of New Zealand, in Christchurch
1892 Joined the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, now the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
1892 Nov. Completed BA exams. (Note the award was made, as usual, at the 1893 degree ceremony.)
1893 First original research on the high frequency magnetisation of iron. Developed a timing device which could switch circuits in less than one hundred thousandth of a second.
1893 Completed exams for MA with double First Class Honours; in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics, and in Physical Science.
1894 Completed the exams for his BSc in Chemistry and Geology. Extended his research to higher frequencies using discharging Leyden jars and a Hertzian oscillator. Developed a magnetic detector of very short current pulses.
1894 His first research paper published. (Note. This covered his second year of research (1894) not his first year of research (1893.))
1895 Awarded an Exhibition of 1851 scholarship to go anywhere in the world to carry out research of importance to New Zealand's industries.
1895-8 Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University.
1895 Measured the high frequency dielectric properties of materials. Used his magnetic detector as part of a frequency meter.
1896 Jan. Roentgen publicly announces the discovery of X-rays.
Feb. Ern sets the world record for the distance over which `wireless' waves were detected.
Mar. Becquerel announces the discovery of radioactivity.
Apr. Ern is invited to work with JJ Thomson on electrical conduction in gases.
1897 xx. Ern is capped as one of Cambridge's first B.A.(by research) graduates, his 4th degree.
1897 JJ Thomson announces the discovery of the electron, the first object lighter than an atom.
1898 Ern discovers rays from radioactive materials are of two main types, which he names alpha and beta.
1898-07 McGill University.
1899 Demonstrates the principle which is the basis of the modern smoke detector.
1899 Discovers a radioactive gas, later to be named radon.
1900 Awarded MSc from Mcgill University, his 5th degree.
1900 Marries Mary Georgina Newton in Christchurch, New Zealand.
1900 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
1901 DSc from the University of New Zealand. Now Dr Rutherford.
1901 Daughter Eileen born.
1902 Announces formally that "radioactivity is a manifestation of sub-atomic change."
1903 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
1904 Awarded the Rumford Medal, his first major science prize.
1905 Reconciles geologists and physicists determinations of the age of the Earth.
1905 Family visit to New Zealand.
1906 Apr. Awarded an honorary Doctorate by Pennsylvania State University.
1907 Aug. Awarded a D.Phil degree by Giessen University.
1907-19 Manchester University.
1908 Invents the Rutherford-Geiger detector of single ionizing particles.
1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
1909 Sep. Awarded an honorary Dr.Phys. by Clark University.
1910 Purchases his first car.
1910 Sister Alice dies.
1911 Ern announces the nuclear model of the atom.
1914 Knighted. Now Sir Ernest Rutherford.
1914 Aug. Awarded a D.Sc. from the University of Melbourne, as aprt of the BAAS meeting in Australia.
1914 Visits New Zealand. Canterbury College given approval to build a physics department.
1914-18 First World War.
1915-17 Pioneer work on acoustic methods of detecting submarines.
1916 Ern and W H Bragg patent apparatus for determining the direction of submarine sound.
1916 States publicly that he hoped mankind should not discover how to extract the energy from the nucleus until man was living at peace with his neighbour.
1917 Leads the allied delegation to America to transfer anti-submarine knowledge.
1917 Becomes the world's first successful alchemist, changing nitrogen into hydrogen ie he splits the atom.
1919-37 Director of the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University.
1919 Elected an inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Institute, now the Royal Society of New Zealand.
1920 Predicts the existence of the neutron.
1922 Elected Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Science 2/12/22.
1924 Aug. Awarded an honorary D.Sc. from the University of Toronto.
1924 Edward Appleton and Miles Barnett (of New Zealand) prove the existence of the ionosphere. Appleton received the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physics.
1925 Elected Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Science 3/1/25.
1925-30 President of the Royal Society of London.
1925 Order of Merit.
1927 Awarded an honorary D.Sc. from Yale University.
1925 Visits Australia and New Zealand. The New Zealand DSIR is formed in 1926.
1928 Father dies.
1929-37 Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
1930 Daughter Eileen dies two days before Christmas.
1931 Raised to the Peerage at New Year, now Ernest, Lord Rutherford of Nelson.
1931 Jan. Awarded the first honorary D.Sc. from the University of New Zealand.
1931 Jun. Awarded an honorary D.Sc. from the University of London.
1931 Awarded an honorary D.Phil. from Goettingen University.
1931-33 President of the Institute of Physics.
1932 Cockcroft and Walton use an accelerator to split the atom. Chadwick discoveres the neutron. Each received a Nobel Prize.
1933-37 President of the Academic Assistance Council.
1934 Ern and Oliphant discover H3 (tritium) and He3.
1935 Mother dies.
1935 Opens the LMS Railway Research Labs at Derby, 10th Dec 1935.
1937 Died 19th Oct 1937. Ashes interred in Westminister Abbey.

Biography | Milestones | DVD/Books | Birthplace | Other Places | Awards | Honouring Ern | Bibliography | Miscellaneous | Site Map

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