Born in New Zealand, Ernest Rutherford is most well known for his work that he completed in the world of nuclear physics, completed in England. He worked in a team that discovered radioactive isotopes and formed a new method of classification for this radiation, including alpha, beta, and gamma rays. He was a leader into theories about neutrons, which at that time had not yet been proven to be in existence, and discovered the new element rutherfordium. Rutherford received extensive accolades throughout his distinguished lifetime and body of work, including a number of academic and professional awards and the promotion to Knight and Baron before his death.
In 1908, Ernest Rutherford was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry due to his extensive research regarding how elements disintegrate, and the chemical breakdown of radioactive particles. In 1911, his research showed that atoms may have all of their positive energy distilled into a central nucleus. This led to the Rutherford model of the atom, which led to the possibility of splitting atoms in 1917. These theories were instrumental for the eventual Manhattan Project and other uses of nuclear energy that were devised down the road in more modern times.
Beginning his studies at Havelock School, the young Ernest Rutherford then went on to study at the Nelson College in New Zealand. He earned his BA, MA and BSc at the University of New Zealand, all in electrical technology studies. After this he completed his postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge in England, where he received the distinction of holding a world record for the longest distance in which electromagnetic waves could be detected. The majority of his early research was conducted at the McGill University in Montreal, where he held the position of Chair of the Physics Department. He then moved on to hold this same position at the University of Manchester.
For his service in Great Britain, Ernest Rutherford was knighted in 1914, and was awarded the Hector Memorial Medal in 1916. He was made Baron Rutherford of Nelson in Cambridge after resuming his research at Cambridge University and reaching high academic and scientific levels of prestige at this time. Under his tenure at the Cavendish in Cambridge, the department was awarded the prize of having discovered the neutron, which was a huge breakthrough at the time in the world of nuclear science, and opened up the doors to the eventual splitting of the atom and the use of this technology in nuclear weapons.