Bringing the Gold Foil Experiment to Life!

gold foil experiment

Students can regularly find the results of the Rutherford gold foil experiment in their textbooks. They can find the expected results that would have supported J.J. Thomson's 'plum pudding' model of the atom as well as the true results of the experiment that led to the nuclear model of the atom. But whether in the classroom or in the online format, students typically struggle to envision the infamous Geiger-Marsden (aka Rutherford) gold foil experiment. Numerous chemistry textbooks and websites display the results of the experiment, but rarely is the schematic or set-up of the experiment shown. The apparatus used and the experimental set up can be just as important of the experimental results. Also, just as significant is the sequence of the experiment, or what I like to call the story of the experiment. So I decided to make a short (approx. 8 minutes) to recreate the experiment using video technology, role playing, and tennis balls and make the story come alive. Hope you enjoy the and find it useful in your classroom.