Then a sudden inspiration came, and I said Lord Kelvin had limited the age of the earth, provided no new source (of energy) was discovered. I have to keep going, as there are always people on my track. Eve, Rutherford: Being the Life and Letters of the Rt. If, as I have reason to believe, I have disintegrated the nucleus of the atom, this is of greater significance than the war.[Apology to the international anti-submarine committee for being absent from several meetings during World War I.] In the light of [current research on atomic structure] the physicists have, I think, some justification for their faith that they are building on the solid rock of fact, and not, as we are often so solemnly warned by some of our scientific brethren, on the shifting sands of imaginative hypothesis.
Ernest Rutherford was born in rural Spring Grove, on the South Island of New Zealand on August 30, 1871.
This was also the golden age of modern physics, with Rutherford, the Curies, Thomson, Bohr, and many others producing major works.
Above all, these years saw the rise of Albert Einstein - 1905 was his great year, when he published a flurry of brilliant papers, including two on the special theory of relativity.
It was not until the 1950s that the age of the Universe was finally revised and put safely beyond the age of the Earth, which had at last reached its true age of 4.56 billion years.
Physicists suddenly gained a new respect for geologists!