Ernest Rutherford was born in Nelson, a port city south of New Zealand, on August 30, 1871. He was the fourth child in a family of twelve, six brothers and five sisters. His father was a Scottish mechanic and his mother was an English teacher.
Rutherford studied in public schools and in 1893 graduated in Mathematics and Physical Sciences from the University of New Zealand. He studied at Cavendish's laboratory at Trinitty College in Cambridge, England. It was coordinated by Joseph John Thomson.
He was a teacher in Canada in 1898 and in 1907 in England in Manchester. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 for his work on radioactivity and nuclear theory.
In 1919 introduced the idea of atomic nucleus. He realized that the atom had a very dense nucleus, small and positively charged. The atom was then formed by a nucleus with electrons spinning around it in elliptical orbits. His atomistic ideas propelled a new scientist who continued his work, Niels Bohr.
He was president of the Royal Society from 1925 to 1930. He directed Cavendish's laboratory until the end of his life. He received the Order of Merit in 1925 and in 1931 was awarded Baron Rutherfod of Nelson.
He died in 1937 after waiting for surgery that could only be performed by a noble doctor, just like him.