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Radioactive source emitting alpha particles, a thin sheet of gold foil, a fluorescent detection screen.
Rutherford's experiment with the gold foil was done by his assistants, Geiger and Marsden. An alpha source was set up. Alpha particles are helium nuclei, two protons and two neutrons. A lead(Pb) block with a slit served as the source. A radioactive substance (giving Alpha particle emission) was put inside. The slit acted as the only means of escape for the alpha particles. The slit was pointed at the thin gold foil. The foil was set up a short distance from the source and in a line with the opening in the lead block.
Using the foil as the center of the collision or scattering events, they took a long strip of material that was coated with zinc sulfide and set it up in an almost complete circle.
They turned off the light. That way they could see the scintillations, the little blinks of light that resulted when an alpha particle hit the screen.They expected all the particles to go right through the thin gold foil, but they noticed some reactions along the sides.