From Publishers Weekly
In the latest installment of Norton's Great Discoveries science-history series, historian Reeves re-introduces Ernest Rutherford, one of the founding geniuses of nuclear physics. Although less well known today, Rutherford was as famous in his lifetime as Einstein became, and his work is equally important to atomic and particle physics. He and his students performed the experiments which resulted in the discovery of the nucleus and structure of the atom, and he counted Niels Bohr as one of his students. Born on the remote New Zealand frontier, Ernest's brilliance showed early, and scholarships led him to study with J. J. Thomson at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. He changed his focus from electromagnetism to the more mysterious field of radioactivity and, through a combination of brilliant insight and indefatigable effort, made fundamental discoveries that earned him a Nobel Prize in 1908 and a powerful influence over nuclear physics until his death in 1937. While short, this biography does an outstanding job of capturing the excitement and almost breathless pace of physics research in the 20th century's first four decades; for those who want to read more, Reeves provides ample endnotes for each chapter.
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“Richard Reeves, in his wonderfully lucid style, renders the genius of Ernest Rutherford, who exposed the inner workings of the atom. A great experimentalist and mentor, Rutherford gave birth to the atomic age in his labs, and Reeves captures the drama, personalities, and science.” (Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe)