Who split the atom?
by Jim Al-Khalili
4 April 2018, 6.30pm
Chancellor’s Hall, The University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK
Apart from the confusion about what this popular phrase means – it is of course the nucleus that is being split, not the entire atom – there is also debate about when it was achieved and who should take the credit. One thing that is not in doubt is that Ernest Rutherford will have been involved in some way. So, what was the father of nuclear physics working on exactly one hundred years ago, in 1918, just before the end of the Great War and just before he moved down from Manchester to the Cavendish? Digging into the history, we see that he was in fact busy... 'splitting the atom’. This talk will look back at some of the key moments in nuclear physics in the first decades of the 20th century.
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