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A collection of quotes by Ernest Rutherford about science, physics, world, peace, discovery, engineering, atoms, chemicals, reading, order, race, etc.

27 Notable Quotes By Ernest Rutherford, The Father Of Nuclear Physics

Quick Facts

Famous As: Physicist, Chemist

Born On: August 30, 1871

Died On: October 19, 1937

Born In: Brightwater, New Zealand

Died At Age: 66

Father of nuclear physics, Ernest Rutherford is considered as one of the most illustrious scientists of all time. His concept of radioactive half-life was the result of his initial work. He was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize in Chemistry’ for his surveys into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances. During his time at the University of Manchester during the 1900s, he along with Thomas Royds, proved that Alpha radiation is helium nuclei. Even though he could not prove whether it was positive or negative, he concluded that all the atoms have their charge concentrated in nucleus. This theory was one of his famous works and founded the Rutherford Model of the atom. He was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize in Chemistry’ for his surveys into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substance. This great experimentalist also propounded many modern-day science theories. As a great scientist, he wrote several notes, articles, and delivered lectures on different subjects and issues. We have curated Rutherford’s quotes and sayings from his work and life. Here is a collecltion of his quotes and thoughts below.

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All science is either physics or stamp collecting.

Ernest Rutherford

If your experiment needs a statistician, you need a better experiment.

Ernest Rutherford

All of physics is either impossible or trivial. It is impossible until you understand it, and then it becomes trivial.

Ernest Rutherford

Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.

Ernest Rutherford

When we have found how the nucleus of atoms is built up we shall have found the greatest secret of all — except life. We shall have found the basis of everything — of the earth we walk on, of the air we breathe, of the sunshine, of our physical body itself, of everything in the world, however great or however small — except life.

Ernest Rutherford

It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back to hit you.

Ernest Rutherford

A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good.

Ernest Rutherford

Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It's time to start thinking.

Ernest Rutherford

If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.

Ernest Rutherford

Every good laboratory consists of first rate men working in great harmony to insure the progress of science; but down at the end of the hall is an unsociable, wrong-headed fellow working on unprofitable lines, and in his hands lies the hope of discovery.

Ernest Rutherford

The only possible conclusion the social sciences can draw is: some do, some don't.

Ernest Rutherford

The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.

Ernest Rutherford

We haven't got the money, so we'll have to think

Ernest Rutherford

I am a great believer in the simplicity of things and as you probably know I am inclined to hang on to broad & simple ideas like grim death until evidence is too strong for my tenacity.

Ernest Rutherford

We are rather like children, who must take a watch to pieces to see how it works.

Ernest Rutherford

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the ‘social sciences’ is: some do, some don’t.

Ernest Rutherford

The more physics you have the less engineering you need.

Ernest Rutherford

Gentlemen, now you will see that now you see nothing. And why you see nothing you will see presently.

Ernest Rutherford

Radioactivity is shown to be accompanied by chemical changes in which new types of matter are being continually produced. .... The conclusion is drawn that these chemical changes must be sub-atomic in character.

Ernest Rutherford

I must confess it was very unexpected and I am very startled at my metamorphosis into a chemist.

Ernest Rutherford

It is essential for men of science to take an interest in the administration of their own affairs or else the professional civil servant will step in - and then the Lord help you.

Ernest Rutherford

Now I know what the atom looks like.

Ernest Rutherford

The great object is to find the theory of the matter [of X-rays] before anyone else, for nearly every professor in Europe is now on the warpath.

Ernest Rutherford

I've just finished reading some of my early papers, and you know, when I'd finished I said to myself, 'Rutherford, my boy, you used to be a damned clever fellow.' (1911)

Ernest Rutherford

I have to keep going, as there are always people on my track. I have to publish my present work as rapidly as possible in order to keep in the race. The best sprinters in this road of investigation are Becquerel and the Curies...

Ernest Rutherford

From the results so far obtained it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the long-range atoms arising from collision of alpha particles with nitrogen are not nitrogen atoms but probably atoms of hydrogen, or atoms of mass 2. If this be the case, we must conclude that the nitrogen atom is disintegrated under the intense forces developed in a close collision with a swift alpha particle, and that the hydrogen atom which is liberated formed a constituent part of the nitrogen nucleus.

Ernest Rutherford

The year 1896 ... marked the beginning of what has been aptly termed the heroic age of Physical Science. Never before in the history of physics has there been witnessed such a period of intense activity when discoveries of fundamental importance have followed one another with such bewildering rapidity.

Ernest Rutherford