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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 3 (June 1, 1937)

The Structure of Atoms

The Structure of Atoms.

“But perhaps the most amazing result of his work,” Dr. Marsden continues, “is the discovery that these atoms, although so infinitely small, have a wonderful structure very similar to that of our solar system, with a central sun of so-called positive electricity and planets of electrons or units of negative electricity. He has shown that these atoms are storehouses of large amounts of energy, and has been able to disintegrate some of them artificially, leading to the release of some of this energy. It is just possible, that some day this energy may be harnessed for the service of mankind, after all of our easily available resources of coal and oil are used up. At any rate he has achieved the dream of the old alchemists, namely the transmutation of elements or matter. This work has led to a revolution in philosophic thought, and has given rise to the fascinating
(Rly. Publicity photo.) Nelson College, inseparably associated with the name of Lord Rutherford.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Nelson College, inseparably associated with the name of Lord Rutherford.

theory of relativity, which has been developed by Einstein.”

Professor Andrade, of the University of London, in an exposition of Rutherford's experiments with the structure of the atom, said that the scientific interest of atomic transmutation could not be exaggerated, but the prospect of an actual engineering use of atomic energy seemed remote.

The total amounts of energy with which the Cambridge school workers are dealing are ludicrously small, Andrade said, from an engineering point of view. “But they are not so absurd from a medical point of view, for here it is not a large amount of energy that is required, but energy of a very special kind that can be produced locally, as in the radium treatment of cancer.”