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HSC Physics

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  1. Module 1: Kinematics
    1.1 Motion in a Straight Line
  2. 1.2 Motion on a Plane
  3. Module 2: Dynamics
    2.1 Forces
  4. 2.2 Forces, Acceleration and Energy
  5. 2.3 Momentum, Energy and Simple Systems
  6. Module 3: Waves and Thermodynamics
    3.1 Wave Properties
  7. 3.2 Wave Behaviour
  8. 3.3 Sound Waves
  9. 3.4 Ray Model of Light
  10. 3.5 Thermodynamics
  11. Module 4: Electricity and Magnetism
    4.1 Electrostatics
  12. 4.2 Electric Circuits
  13. 4.3 Magnetism
  14. Module 5: Advanced Mechanics
    5.1 Projectile Motion
  15. 5.2 Circular Motion
  16. 5.3 Motion in Gravitational Fields
    2 Topics
  17. Module 6: Electromagnetism
    6.1 Charged Particles, Conductors and Electric and Magnetic Fields
  18. 6.2 The Motor Effect
    1 Topic
  19. 6.3 Electromagnetic Induction
  20. 6.4 Applications of the Motor Effect
    1 Topic
  21. Module 7: The Nature of Light
    7.1 Electromagnetic Spectrum
    3 Topics
  22. 7.2 Light: Wave Model
  23. 7.3 Light: Quantum Model
    2 Topics
  24. 7.4 Light and Special Relativity
  25. Module 8: From the Universe to the Atom
    8.1 Origins of the Elements
    5 Topics
  26. 8.2 Structure of the Atom
    3 Topics
  27. 8.3 Quantum Mechanical Nature of the Atom
    2 Topics
  28. 8.4 Properties of the Nucleus
    2 Topics
  29. 8.5 Deep Inside the Atom
    4 Topics
Lesson 26, Topic 2
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Experimental Evidence Supporting the Nuclear Model

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Rutherford

In his famous gold foil experiment, Rutherford fired alpha particles (helium nuclei consisting of two protons and two neutrons) at a thin sheet of gold foil. If Thomson’s plum pudding model was correct, the alpha particles would have travelled straight through the foil with only occasional, minor deflections.

  • Most of the alpha particles passed through undeflected.
  • Some were very significantly deflected, with a few bouncing straight back towards the source.
  • These deflections were caused by a highly-concentrated positive charge at the centre of the atom (the nucleus) which electrically repelled the alpha particles.

Later, Rutherford observed hydrogen as a product of a reaction between nitrogen and alpha particles. From this, he concluded that one of them must have hydrogen within it, and that hydrogen nuclei (i.e. protons) were present inside nuclei, and hence inside all atoms.