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Madame Curie had discovered the radium. Radium was a radioactive element which emitted radioactive gamma radiation and let out positively charged alpha particles and negatively charged beta particles. This element was used by chemists at that time to conduct various experiments. One of the experiments was a ‘particle gun’. Lead absorbs radiation and lead-box with a small hole in it meant that the radioactive material could be used as a particle gun. It was with this particle gun that Rutherford conducted his experiments.
Rutherford in his gold-foil experiments found that when a thin sheet of gold was bombarded with alpha particle, most particles passed through but some particles were deflected. With this experiment he theorized that atoms were mostly hollow and at the center of the atoms, there was nucleus which contained the positive charged particles (protons). He further theorized that revolving this centre were the negatively charged particles (electrons). Thus the planetary model of the atom was formulated by Rutherford.
This coupled with other discoveries like the calculation of atomic number gave rise to what is called the Periodic table or Mendeleev’s Periodic table and the chemistry that we know today could be made possible.
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