In 1914 Ernest Rutherford was knighted, and made a brief trip to Australia and back to New Zealand.
Back in England, during the following years of the First World War, Rutherford worked on acoustic methods of detecting submarines.
The Rutherford Origin, with information displays about Rutherford in a garden setting, was opened on December 6, 1991.
Ernest Rutherford made three major discoveries that played a large part in the development of modern science and the beginning of the nuclear age: he found out that the structure of elements can change; he developed the nuclear model of the atom which formed the basis of the model still used today; he split the atom.
In 1898 Rutherford took up the post of Professor of Physics at Mc Gill University in Montreal, but returned to New Zealand briefly in 1900 to marry Mary Newton, the daughter of his Christchurch landlady. Rutherford continued his researches into radioactivity at Mc Gill, discovering radon, a radioactive gas.
He also found that some heavy atoms break down into lighter atoms.
Resuming his work on radioactivity after the war, Rutherford discovered that by bombarding light atoms with alpha rays, and changing nitrogen into oxygen, it would be possible to split the atom.