Rutherford, Ernest, Lord

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Rutherford, Ernest, Lord (1871–1937) British physicist, b. New Zealand, who pioneered modern nuclear physics. He discovered and named alpha and beta radiation, named the nucleus, and proposed a theory of the radioactive transformation of atoms for which he received the 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In Cambridge, England, under J. J. Thomson, he discovered the uranium radiations. At McGill University, Canada, he formed the theory of atomic disintegration with Frederick Soddy (1877–1965). At Manchester, England, he devised (1907) the nuclear theory of the atom and, with Niels Bohr, the idea of orbital electrons. In 1919, at the Cavendish Laboratory, his research team became the first to split an atom's nucleus. He predicted the existence of the neutron, later discovered by James Chadwick.