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Baron Ernest Rutherford

CREST 150th Celebration investigations

Baron Ernest Rutherford, OM FRS (1871 – 1937) is one of the most illustrious scientists of all time.

Known as the father of nuclear physics, he is remembered for his research, focus, determination and humility. In his lifetime, he altered our fundamental view of nature three times: he explained the relationship between atoms and radioactivity, identified the structure of the atom and was the world’s first successful alchemist (he converted nitrogen into oxygen). Or put another way, he was first to split the atom. He was also a great supporter of research and education, strongly encouraging the NZ government to support all of its scientists, men and women. The impact of his work can be seen even in modern day household items like the smoke alarm.

Project guidelines 

Be inspired by Baron Ernest Rutherford, and for a 150th Silver, Team Silver, Silver Challenge or Team Silver Challenge award: 

Investigate a phenomena or product that would be impossible today without Rutherford’s work and how it could be adapted and applied to benefit   New Zealand of the future ( model or prototype).


Links to teaching and learning programmes

This investigation could contribute to teaching and learning programmes involving:


1.2, 2.2, 2.5, 3.2, 3.5


2.3, 3.3