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Video series - Rā whānau Rutherford

A video series celebrating the 150th anniversary of Ernest Lord Rutherford FRSNZ, by highlighting his life and the impact of his discoveries on science and society today.


Carbon Dating 

Early in his career Rutherford discovered the concept of radioactive decay and the principle of radioactive half-life, and this research in part led to his Nobel prize. Rutherford applied his half-life principle to long lived geological samples to estimate the date of the earth, thus developing the principle of radioactive dating. Years later in the 1940's, other scientists made the discovery of carbon-14 and devised radiocarbon dating techniques (the topic of this video), as applied to working out the age of any object containing organic materials, and this method is based on Rutherford's principle of radioactive dating.

New Model of the Atom

Splitting the atom

More on Rutherford

Keen to learn more? Check out our 150 facts on Rutherford in celebration of his 150th anniversary. 

If you're a school-aged tauira (student) in Aotearoa, you have a chance to win $100 and a spot on our billboard by learning more about Rutherford and designing your own version of the $100 note showcasing why he matters. For competition details and to enter.