What Rutherford expected, and what would prove Thomson's theory would be the alpha particles passing through the gold foil (made up of plum pudding molecules right? phhhht! noooo) with little or no reflections. What he discovered, however, was that the positively charged alpha particles would every so often hit something in the gold foil that made them bounce in huge reflections! What they were hitting is the positively charged nucleus of the atoms in the foil. To understand this more try this interactive activity on this link. Watch how the more alpha particles that are introduced, the more are reflected from the nuclei.
You may be asking yourself, "Why does this matter?" This is actually one of the most important moments in the history of SCIENCE! This is the event that caused Rutherford to come up with a new model for the atom. Without the gold foil experiment we might still be thinking we're connected by plum pudding like atoms. Rutherford is the father of the modern atomic structure and this experiment helped start it all.
by: Paxton Swisher
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