Italians call on ISIS to show significance of Rutherford's discovery
26 Aug 2011



Research ranging from medicine to archaeology carried out and completed at STFC’s ISIS Neutron Source is being presented in Italy this week, (21-27 August 2011), at one of Italy’s largest annual cultural festivals that attracts over 800,000 visitors.

The Rimini Meeting

The theme of the 2011 ‘Meeting of Rimini’ is ‘And existence becomes an immense certainty’. Organisers were looking at the significance of Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the structure of the atom 100 years ago for their science zone and wanted to include world-leading laboratories that used it in modern science. They chose ISIS, as well as CERN and Joint European Torus (JET) at Culham. Within the science zone, visitors can make a virtual visit to some of the most advanced working scientific laboratories today to explore the significance of Rutherford’s discovery.

In search of the missing ingredient for Rutherford’s model of the atom, physicist James Chadwick discovered the neutron in 1932. Although, at the time, its use as a particle was not considered to have much significance, it has had a major influence on modern science. Chadwick’s discovery has enabled neutron sources, like ISIS, to explore materials in a unique way, in order to improve our understanding of their properties.

The ISIS exhibition at Rimini shows how Chadwick’s very simple experiments have grown into the huge enterprise of a modern research centre supporting an international community of more than 2000 scientists. Their research includes subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT.

Alongside a replica of Chadwick’s original apparatus, will be modern day scientific examples of using neutrons - from delivering medicines to specific targets in the body to how ancient Japanese Samurai armour from Italian museums can be examined non-destructively to determine how and where it was made.

Amandeep Hundal (ISIS)