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Rutherford's first professorship was the Macdonald professorship of physics at Mc Gill University in Montreal.
In 1900 he married Mary Newton; the following year their only child, Eileen, was born. Owens, a young colleague in electrical engineering, had prepared a sample of thorium oxide to study the ionizing power of thorium's radiations.
It was this mystery that Owens, going on vacation, left for Rutherford to solve.
Rutherford designed a series of masterful experiments from which he concluded that thorium somehow produces a gas, which he called "thorium emanation." It was this gas that Owens's air currents had transported, thereby influencing the recorded ionization.
One of his colleagues observed that Rutherford always appeared to be on the "crest of the wave." Rutherford, with no sense of false modesty, replied, "Well! " Then, after a moment's reflection, he added, "At least to some extent." Most physicists would agree that it was to a very large extent. 30, 1871, in Spring Grove (Brightwater), near Nelson, New Zealand.
His father, a Scot, was a wheelwright, farmer, timberman, and large-scale flax producer.
Rutherford remained with Thomson at the Cavendish Laboratory until 1898; he was therefore extremely fortunate in being at precisely the right place at precisely the right time.