Answer to Question #23029 in Atomic and Nuclear Physics for rohit choudhary
explain how Rutherford's experiment on the scattering of alpha particles led to the estimations of the size of the nucleus ?
Most of the alpha particles that were shot at the foil were not altered in their paths by the foil. The vast majority of them went right through. But a few particles were deflected partially in their trajectories because they rebounded off of gold atoms. But the most interesting and rare of all was that a few alpha particles bounced a great deal backwards or even straight back along their original path. This indicated that the atoms of gold were largely empty space (most alpha particles were unaffected) but that they have some sort of massive center (which we now call the nucleus) that is very very small (very few hit it) but is quite dense (alpha particles that did hit it got knocked way off course). The results challenged the belief at the time that atoms were in fact like fruit cake, the cake made of some sort of positively charged material with little bits of electron fruit embedded in it. In short: the results showed that atoms are mostly empty space but with a very dense center which we now call the nucleus.