Astronomy Cast Ep. 378: Rutherford and Atoms

Physicists knew the interior of the atom contained protons, neutrons and electrons, but they didn’t understand exactly how they were organized. It took Ernest Rutherford to uncover our modern understanding.

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5 Replies to “Astronomy Cast Ep. 378: Rutherford and Atoms”

  1. “Physicists knew the interior of the atom contained protons, neutrons and electrons, but they didn’t understand exactly how they were organized.”

    Well . . . we STILL don’t understand the organization. Even worse, the proton, neutrons, electrons, gamma rays, alpha particles, etc. , produced in these experiments may be showing us how the atom DISINTEGRATES, not how it is constructed. These may not be “parts”, as such, of the atom. See

    “An Atom or a Nucleus?” at

    And then find some willing students and run the little “riddle” exercise at the end of the article.

    A better model of the atom can be built from the concept of “intrinsic spin” (or more generally, “intrinsic rotation” which includes the 2 pi and 4 pi spin systems) with clues taken from the Periodic Table. The Table can even be extended “backwards” (upwards) to cover the sub-atomic (less than atomic) particles, including the photon. This is covered in another article: “Intuitive concepts in Quantum Mechanics”.

  2. Hi Brian,
    You might wish to devise an experiment to verify or refute your claims. Until then, Rutherford is more right. You need evidence, based on real measurement. That’s science.

    1. @Tony:
      The measurements have already been made, and have been around for over 100 years. It is the INTERPRETATION that is problematic.

      A much better model of the atom can be constructed from the 2 pi and 4 pi spin systems. See:

      If the atom is actually constructed in that manner, then some truly astonishing, almost “magical” effects can be produced by monopolar, pulsed, rotating, very high voltage electric and magnetic fields, preferably with asymmetric time derivatives. That will probably be the evidence you seek. And it is not hard to do either. It may already have been done.

      And . . . if so, you won’t be reading about it in the science journals! It will be a discovery that is way too hot to handle.

      1. Hi Brian,
        Discoveries that are “way too hot to handle” … you might find that the reason it’s not in the journals is because it does not have evidentiary support.
        Publication level science requires amounts of evidence that most laypeople do not require; and in particular, science requires an experimental result that illustrates the discovery while falsifying the contending theories.
        If you have this, the journals will publish. If you don’t, they won’t. That’s science.
        Tony Barry

      2. Tony:
        You describe the way science is SUPPOSED to work. The reality is that if a discovery is not consistent with the “reigning paradigm”, the editor will just throw the submission into the trash. It will never even see peer review, let alone publication, no matter what amount of evidence.

        A case in point is the physics of non-locality. The schools won’t teach it and the journals won’t touch it, except in the “approved” form of quantum mechanics. The reason is that the reigning paradigm is Einstein’s Special and General Relativity, which is specifically and intentionally a “locality” theory. The Lorentz-Einstein relations work fine for their intended scope, but the editors of the journals think of that scope as completely covering everything. They won’t even bring up the ISSUE of non-local physics.

        To its credit, this forum has permitted me to have some productive discussions on non-local physics. Evidence:

        But I have given up on the journals. Instead, I am using the internet to appeal to engineers and hobbyists to build machines that will illustrate the usefulness of non-local physics. That way, this topic cannot be swept under the carpet, no matter what the journals do.

        Unfortunately, this method has no controls. Once the witch’s brew is out of the pot, there will be no way to put it back in.

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