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Rutherford and Marsden's Scattering Experiment.

What is the Structure of an Atom?

In the past it was suggested that an atom was a large area
of positive charge with negative electrons stuck in it.
This was called the plum pudding model where the electrons
(shown in the picture below as blue balls)
were like plums stuck in a positive pudding (the big red ball).

Plum Pudding Model of an Atom

Rutherford and Marsden fired very fast alpha particles
into a very thin piece of gold sheet (called gold foil).
The foil was only a few atoms thick and most of the
alpha particles went straight through it to the detector.

When the detector was moved around the foil they
were surprised to find that a small number of alpha particles
seemed to have been scattered in all directions.
Some of the alpha particles even came back towards the emitter.

Rutherford and Marsden Scattering Experiment

Rutherford and Marsden suggested a structure for the atom
which would account for the scattering of these alpha particles.

Continued on the next page.

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