In 1908, the English physicist Ernest Rutherford was hard at work on an experiment that seemed to have little to do with unraveling the mysteries of the atomic structure.
Rutherford’s experiment Involved firing a stream of tiny positively charged particles at a thin sheet of gold foil (2000 atoms thick)
Most of the positively charged “bullets” passed right through the gold atoms in the sheet of gold foil without changing course at all.
Some of the positively charged “bullets,” however, did bounce away from the gold sheet as if they had hit something solid. He knew that positive charges repel positive charges.
This could only mean that the gold atoms in the sheet were mostly open space. Atoms were not a pudding filled with a positively charged material.
Rutherford concluded that an atom had a small, dense, positively charged center that repelled his positively charged “bullets.”
He called the center of the atom the “nucleus”
The nucleus is tiny compared to the atom as a whole.
According to Bohr’s atomic model, electrons move in definite orbits around the nucleus, much like planets circle the sun. These orbits, or energy levels, are located at certain distances from the nucleus.