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Ernest Rutherford: from Kiwi farm boy to President of the Royal Society

14 November, 2022 @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Professor Mary Fowler, FRAS, FGS, FRCGS
Former Master of Darwin College, University of Cambridge

Professor Mary Fowler

Professor Mary Fowler, a geophysicist, was Master of Darwin College 2012-2020. More information about Professor Fowler is available here:

Summary of talk: Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), father of nuclear physics, has much to teach us today, both in his extraordinary scientific insights, in his skills in reaching out to the wider community, in administration, and in his international outlook. He was born and raised in rural New Zealand and depended on scholarships for his post-primary education, first in New Zealand and then Cambridge. His great discoveries were made at McGill Manchester and Cambridge Universities. Awarded a Nobel Prize in 1908, he dominated early 20th century experimental physics. His study of radioactivity led to fresh insight on the age of the Earth and, with Soddy, the understanding of isotopes and the periodic table. His central discovery, the atomic nucleus, led to a much deeper understanding of the way matter is constituted which revolutionised both physics and chemistry. As a co-inventor of submarine detection by sonar, he helped save Britain. Throughout his career he created an extraordinary team of students and colleagues, and his last great work, with Einstein as his deputy, successfully rescued over a thousand, scientists, mainly Jewish, from Nazi Germany.

This event is open to both members and non-members to attend in person. The event will also be streamed using Zoom. Unless COVID-19 (or other) restrictions are imposed, it will not be necessary to book in advance. If such restrictions are put in place, then this webpage will be updated with information on how to book.

Members: Members will receive an email about a week before the event providing them with the information required to listen to the lecture using Zoom.

Non-members: Non-members may attend on payment of £5 (student non-members £3) at the door. Non-members may also watch the lecture streamed using Zoom by booking using EventBrite here:

New Walk Museum, 53 New Walk
Leicester, LE1 7EA
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