Marsden, Ernest (1889–1970)

Ernest Marsden was an English-born physicist, the son of a Lancashire cotton mill worker who, as an undergraduate at the University of Manchester, carried out the famous gold-foil experiment with Hans Geiger under the supervision of Ernest Rutherford. The remarkable results of this experiment led to Rutherford proposing a radically new structure for the atom with at its heart a tiny, massive nucleus. After serving with distinction in World War I, Marsden moved to New Zealand and became its leading scientist. For more details, see Rutherford's experiment and atomic model.