Ernest Rutherford

Baron Rutherford of Nelson 1871-1937 Known as the father of nuclear physics, as he split the atom, Ernest Rutherford is the Nelson area’s most famous son. He was born in the little township of Brightwater and educated at Nelson College, Canterbury University College and Cambridge University. He carried out his researches in Canada, Manchester and at Cambridge where he was the Director of the University's Cavendish Laboratory. He made many scientific discoveries, but is best known for splitting the atom. Rutherford’s many honours included several honorary doctorates, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the Order of Merit, a peerage and a final resting place in Westminster Abbey. His name lives on in Nelson at the city’s largest hotel, in Rutherford Street and Rutherford Park. This 1972 documentary gives the full history:

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