Cannonball Quotes (1 quote)
Dear Professor Rutherford, We students of our university physics club elect you our honorary president because you proved that atoms have balls.
In Letter (10 Oct 1929) received from students in Rostow na Donu, USSR, asking Ernest Rutherford USSR to become honorary president of their physics club. As quoted in George Gamow, My World Line: An Informal Autobiography (1970), 77-78. Gamow explained to Rutherford that the phrases for atomic “nucleus” and “cannonball” shared the use of the word “iadro” in Russian. The students had made faulty use of their Russian-English dictionary, but they were aware of Rutherford’s gold foil experiment. [Peter Atkins may have repeated the anecdote somewhere, but he did not originate it, yet the quote is seen attributed to him around the Web. —Webmaster]