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Atoms and Atomic Structure
Rutherford B. Hayes

How was Rutherford able to estimate the size of the nucleus in his alpha-particle experiment?


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February 26, 2009 11:43PM

Most alpha particles could move through the foil with little or no interference because of the empty space that makes up most of the atom. However, if an alpha particle made a direct hit on the nucleus of a gold atom, which has 79 protons, the alpha particle would be strongly repelled and bounce back.