Although Rutherford House was completed and the foundation House Leader, Mr D. Martin, was appointed in 1980, it was not officially opened until 1982. In 1987, Mr J. Lonergan was appointed as the new Rutherford House Leader and remained in that position until 1994. After that Mrs M. van Weeuwen served one year as the House Leader before our current House Leader, Mr S. Morrison, took up the position.
Several of the staff around the school are former Rutherford teachers. These include Mr. Peek, Mr. Lonergan, Mr. Phillips, as well as Mrs. McConnell, Mr. S. Hargreaves, Mr. Barrett and Mrs. P. Jones. The earliest of these to join Rutherford were Mr. Lonergan and Mr. Peek, joining the House in 1983 and 1984 respectively. There are no foundation full time staff members of Rutherford remaining at school, although Mr. Bark, a relief teacher, was a foundation teacher of our House.
Lord Ernest Rutherford
Lord Ernest Rutherford was born at Bridgewater near Nelson, in 1871. He received early education in Government schools and at the age of 16 entered Nelson Collegiate School . Although he did not show any interest in science in primary school, he found it more and more stimulating as he progressed through college and graduated with first class degrees in Science and Maths at Canterbury College , run by the University of New Zealand.
Over the next several years, Rutherford made several important discoveries which contributed to new knowledge of chemistry and physics. Included in these was the discovery of the existence of alpha and beta rays in uranium radiation. On further investigation with H. Geiger, he devised a device which could detect a single alpha particle and count them as they emitted from radium. He also introduced the concept of a ‘nucleus’ in an atom.
In 1906, Rutherford took the position of the professor of physics at Manchester University . In 1908, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances", where the disintegration of the elements also formed the basis for the development of nuclear bombs.
In 1919, Lord Rutherford discovered that by bombing nitrogen gas with alpha particles, he was able to knock protons out of the nuclei of nitrogen atoms, converting them into oxygen atoms. This was the first time anyone split the nucleus of an atom. In 1924 he was knighted for his important contributions to chemistry. He became First Baron Rutherford of Nelson in 1931.
Lord Rutherford died on 19th October, 1937 , and was buried in Westminster Abbey, near Sir Isaac Newton.