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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Portraits of Rutherford

At least 10 portraits of Rutherford exist, the best known being the oil by Oswald Birley, a three-quarter-length figure which hangs in the rooms of the Royal Society, Burlington House, London. An exact replica, executed by the artist on commission by Lord Bledisloe, is in the portrait gallery of the Dominion Art Gallery, Wellington. It represents Rutherford standing in a typical pose, as though addressing an audience, and with one of his many famous pieces of apparatus alongside. It was with this comparatively simple apparatus that he showed, in 1909, that accumulated alpha particles, quite independently of the particular radioactive material from which they were expelled, consist of the element helium. This famous experiment convincingly reaffirmed the natural transmutation of one element into another.

A pencil sketch, head and shoulders, by Francis Dodd, which hangs in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, is perhaps one of the best and most characteristic representations of Rutherford. This was reproduced for the first time in the N.Z. Science Review, August 1956. In the same issue appears a photograph of the floor of the Abbey, showing the stones commemorating both Rutherford and Thomson.

by Lyndon Bastings, B.A.(N.Z.), M.SC.(N.Z., CAMB.), D.SC., F.R.S.N.Z., Director, Building Research Bureau of New Zealand, Wellington.

  • Radio-activity (1904)
  • Ibid. (2nd rev. ed. 1905);Radio-active Transformations (1906)
  • Radioactive Substances and their Radiations (With Chadwick and Ellis) (1913)
  • Artificial Transmutation of the Elements (1933)
  • The Newer Alchemy (1937)
  • The Collected Papers of Lord Rutherford of Nelson, O.M., F.R.S., Vol. I (1962), Vol. II (1963), Chadwick, J. (ed.) (to be followed by further volumes). Rutherford – Life and Letters, Eve, A. S. (1939)
  • Man of Power, Evans, I. B. N. (1939)
  • Lord Rutherford of Nelson, Focken, C. M. (1938)
  • Lord Rutherford, Laby, T. S. (1944)
  • Some Personal Memories of Lord Rutherford of Nelson, Dale, H. (1950)
  • Ernest Rutherford – Atom Pioneer, Rowland, J. (1955)
  • Rutherford by Those who Knew Him, Cockcroft, J., et. al. (1951)
  • N.Z. Science Review, Jul 1951 (special Rutherford issue)
  • Ibid., Aug 1956,Rutherfordiana, Bastings, L.
  • Hommage à Lord Rutherford, World Federation of Scientific Workers (1947)
  • Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol. 68 (1938), “The Publications of the Late Lord Rutherford”, Focken, C. M.
  • Rutherford at Manchester, Birks, J. B. (ed.) 1963
  • The Times (London), 20 Oct 1937 (Obit)
  • Nature, 30 Oct 1937 (Obits).