Ernest Rutherford Collection


Entrance to the Ernest Rutherford Collection

The Rutherford Museum contains the apparatus used by Nobel Prize winner Ernest Rutherford when he was Professor of Experimental Physics at McGill from 1898-1907. It was at McGill that Rutherford collaborated with Frederick Soddy, also a Nobel winner, to write “The cause and nature of radioactivity,” published in 1902.

The collection includes letters, documents, memorabilia, photographs of Rutherford and his colleagues, and other materials relating to Rutherford’s work, including the desk he used in his home. There are also books by and about Rutherford, and early works on radioactivity. All the equipment was hand-made and had been stored in a cupboard until 1964, when former Department of Physics chairman Norman Shaw bequeathed funds to establish the museum in the Macdonald Physics building. An additional amount was donated by the McGill Graduates’ Society to provide the display cabinets designed by Frank Nobbs. Dr. F.R. Terroux was appointed Curator of the Museum, and he undertook the task of repairing, cleaning and renovating the items. It was officially opened in October 1967. The Museum was then located in the Macdonald Physics Building, now the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering, and was later transferred to its present location in the Rutherford Physics Building.

Sculpture of Ernest Rutherford


Rutherford Physics Building, room 111.

Scientific Apparatus Belonging to Ernest Rutherford


Visits by appointment. Detailed virtual tour via Department of Physics web site.


Actively visited


jean.barrette [at] (Prof. Jean Barrette)

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