Rutherford overturned Thomson's model in 1911 with his well-known gold foil experiment in which he demonstrated that the atom has a tiny, heavy nucleus. Rutherford designed an experiment to use the alpha particles emitted by a radioactive element as probes to the unseen world of atomic structure.Rutherford presented his own physical model for subatomic structure, as an interpretation for the unexpected experimental results. In it, the atom is made up of a central charge (this is the modern atomic nucleus, though Rutherford did not use the term "nucleus" in his paper) surrounded by a cloud of (presumably) orbiting electrons. In this May 1911 paper, Rutherford only commits himself to a small central region of very high positive or negative charge in the atom.
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