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Turning Plastic Into Gold: An Analogy To Demonstrate the Rutherford Gold Foil Experiment

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Department of Chemistry, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499
Department of Chemistry, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA 19530
Cite this: J. Chem. Educ. 2007, 84, 4, 626
Publication Date (Web):April 1, 2007
https://doi.org/10.1021/ed084p626

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    Abstract

    An in-class demonstration designed to be an analogy to the Rutherford–Geiger–Marsden gold foil experiment is described. A laser pointer, two picture frames, and a sheet of plastic are all that is required to perform the demonstration. The demonstration is presented in two stages, (i) representing what Rutherford expected his researchers to find and (ii) then representing what they actually found. The demonstration can be used to stimulate a discussion of the way that scientific theory changes as new knowledge advances the state of the art and of the way that discrepant events often result in new insight into science and nature.

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 2 publications.

    1. Jesús Ramón Girón-Gambero, Antonio Joaquín Franco-Mariscal. “Atomizados”: An Educational Game for Learning Atomic Structure. A Case Study with Grade-9 Students with Difficulties Learning Chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education 2023, 100 (8) , 3114-3123. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.2c00614
    2. L B Calheiro, W P S Freitas, C A Martins, A M B Goncalves. A 3D-printed model coupled to an Arduino emulates the Rutherford scattering experiment. Physics Education 2021, 56 (5) , 055003. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6552/ac03fd

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