In the early 1930's, many people believed that the world would come to an end if the atom was ever split. They would have been very surprised to learn that the nucleus of an atom had already been 'split' by Rutherford in Manchester more than ten years earlier! When he returned to the Cavendish, Rutherford wanted more control over the particles used to penetrate nuclei. He directed Cockcroft and Walton to build a high voltage machine to accelerate the particles to high speeds and hence high energies, and in 1932 protons were first used to produce controlled nuclear disintegrations.

Explore this section to find out more about the Cavendish's high voltage experiments.

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