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Rutherford Scattering Apparatus

OK….so we have this particle physics workshop the Network is putting together. It’s going to focus on hands-on ideas. One of the things I’d like to be able to do is produce something similar to the Rutherford Scattering apparatus developed (I think) as part of the Nuffield course. There’s something similar here: http://www.timstar.co.uk/Item/PRODUCT_RANGES~Physics~Radiation_-AND-_Atomic_Physics~Nuclear_Radiation~ALPHA_PARTICLE_SCATTERING_APPARATUS./RA95600/.html

and also here: http://education.scichem.com/Catalogue/ProductDetail/alpha-scattering-apparatus?productID=42840448-2de5-4cd8-ae88-d61fb1ddf2e2&catalogueLevelItemID=875f79be-affa-4f1f-972a-f127564ffbb9

There’s more information on Practicalphysics.org: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/gravitational-model-alpha-particle-scattering

But at £50 it seems a tad steep for my liking. So I’m looking at ways to produce a cheaper version as a make and take within the Hands-On Particle Physics workshop.

The idea I have in mind is putting some cheap acetate sheet over a big hole, heating it up and pulling it down with a hanging weight. It is supposed to follow an r-squared curve but I’m not sure how important that is. I doubt many teacher use it for quantitative measurements. I also like the idea of being able to do a Thomson plum pudding version to compare.

My first attempt was promising. I just put a stone in the middle, rested that on a bucket and heated it with a hot air gun.

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