The best sprinters in this road of investigation are Becquerel and the Curies... Collected in 'The British Association at Winnipeg', Nature (), 81. It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.[Recalling in 1936 the discovery of the nucleus in 1909, when some alpha particles were observed instead of travelling through a very thin gold foil were seen to rebound backward, as if striking something much more massive than the particles themselves.] Should a young scientist working with me come to me after two years of such work and ask me what to do next, I would advise him to get out of science.After two years of work, if a man does not know what to do next, he will never make a real scientist.Before so-called radiometric dating, Earth's age was anybody's guess.Our planet was pegged at a youthful few thousand years old by Bible readers (by counting all the "begats" since Adam) as late as the end of the 19th century, with physicist Lord Kelvin providing another nascent estimate of 100 million years.The tremendous activity in the sciences in these years was too great and too varied to easily summarize, but a couple of fields stand out.There were great advances in genetics; by 1911, Thomas Hunt Morgan and his associates were making the first genetic maps.His conclusions led him to propose the Rutherford model of the atom.
That prophetic utterance refers to what we are now considering tonight, radium! I have to publish my present work as rapidly as possible in order to keep in the race. From Opening Address to the Mathematics and Physics Section at the Annual Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Winnipeg. It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life.It was not until the 1950s that the age of the Universe was finally revised and put safely beyond the age of the Earth, which had at last reached its true age of 4.56 billion years.Physicists suddenly gained a new respect for geologists!This was also the golden age of modern physics, with Rutherford, the Curies, Thomson, Bohr, and many others producing major works.Above all, these years saw the rise of Albert Einstein - 1905 was his great year, when he published a flurry of brilliant papers, including two on the special theory of relativity.