Protons came into existence more than 100 years ago. Sir Ernest Rutherford was the first scientist who discovered proton. First, it was considered an elementary particle, but new research states that it has a complex internal structure. This characteristic of protons was discovered when scientists began firing electrons into protons.
Even after a century of discovering protons and knowing their existence, many facts about this particle are still unknown. However, there are interesting facts about its discovery. Let us see how Ernest Rutherford discovered proton.
How was the proton discovered?
Ernest Rutherford had a scintillation detector that detected hydrogen nuclei when he shot a beam of alpha particles in the air. This intrigued Rutherford, and he began his research in his field. After delving deeper and moving back and forth, Rutherford found that the hydrogen nuclei were produced from the nitrogen atoms present in the atmosphere. When Rutherford discovered this characteristic of nitrogen gas, he decided to fire more alpha particles into pure nitrogen gas. When he did that, he observed a greater number of hydrogen nuclei.
This experiment helped him conclude that the hydrogen nuclei originate from the nitrogen atom. Once the experiment was conducted successfully, it helped Rutherford establish a nuclear equation. The hydrogen nucleus was later named proton, which is the building block of the atomic nucleus.
This is the story of Sir Ernest Rutherford and how he discovered proton and changed the face of science. It shows that being vigilant can help you achieve great heights. If Rutherford had not observed the reaction of hydrogen atoms, he would not have discovered proton.