Splitting the Atom!
had seen alpha-particles. Cockcroft and Rutherford were
informed at once. Rutherford was 'manoeuvred with
some difficulty into the cabin' shouting out instructions to Walton:
'Switch off the proton current! Increase the accelerating
voltage!.' Eventually he came out, sat on
a stool and said: 'Those scintillations look mighty
like alpha-particle ones. I should know an alpha-particle
when I see one for I was in at the birth of the alpha-particle
and I have been observing them ever since'!
was later alleged to have gone skipping down King's
Parade (the road past the front of King's College) shouting
'We've split the atom! We've split the atom!,' though
in fact Rutherford swore the two men to secrecy for
the next few days, allowing them to analyse their results
without interruption. On 16 April they wrote a paper
at Rutherford's house, and the on 30 April their results
were published in Nature.