Why did Rutherford draw the conclusions that he did from his famous gold-foil experiment?
Well, because he was shooting positively charged
The target, a very thin piece of gold foil, and gold foil is exceptionally malleable, was not expected to provide any deflection to the
To quote Rutherford :
It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life.
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. On consideration, I realized that this scattering backward must be the result of a single collision, and when I made calculations I saw that it was impossible to get anything of that order of magnitude unless you took a system in which the greater part of the mass of the atom was concentrated in a minute nucleus.
It was then that I had the idea of an atom with a minute massive centre, carrying a charge.
Rutherford could only account for the deflections if he assumed a tiny nucleus, which contained most of the mass of the atom, and all of the positive charge. The nuclear age was born.
I point out to add in closing that the nucleus was thus shown to have the same electronic charge as the