- 1871: Born at Spring Grove (now Brightwater), Nelson Province,
New Zealand, 30th Aug 1871.
- 1877-83: Attended Foxhill School, Nelson Province.
- 1883-6: Attended Havelock School.
- 1887: Won a Marlborough Scholarship to Nelson College.
- 1889: Won a University of New Zealand Junior Scholarship.
- 1890-4: Attended Canterbury College, University of New Zealand, in Christchurch
- 1892: Joined the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, now the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
- 1893: First original research on the high frequency magnetisation
of iron. Developed a timing device which could switch circuits in less
than one hundred thousandth of a second.
- 1893: Completed MA with double First Class Honours; in Mathematics
and Mathematical Physics, and in Physical Science.
- 1894: Completed BSc in Chemistry and Geology. Extended his
research to higher frequencies using discharging Leyden jars and a Hertzian
oscillator. Developed a magnetic detector of very short current pulses.
- 1895: Awarded an Exhibition of 1851 scholarship to go anywhere in the world to carry out research of importance to New Zealand's industries.
- 1895: Measured the high frequency dielectric properties of materials. Used his magnetic detector as part of a frequency meter.
- 1896: Sets the world record for the distance over which 'wireless' waves were detected.
- 1898: Discovers rays from radioactive materials are of two
main types, which he names alpha and beta.
- 1899: Demonstrates the principle which is the basis of the modern smoke detector.
- 1899: Discovers a radioactive gas, later to be named radon.
- 1900: Marries Mary Georgina Newton in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- 1901: DSc from the University of New Zealand. Now Dr Rutherford.
- 1902: Announces formally that radioactivity is a manifestation
of sub-atomic change.
- 1903: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
- 1904: Awarded the Rumford Medal, his first major science prize.
- 1908: Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- 1911: Announces the nuclear model of the atom.
- 1914: Knighted. Now Sir Ernest Rutherford.
- 1915-17: Pioneer work on acoustic methods of detecting submarines.
- 1917: Becomes the world's first successful alchemist, changing
nitrogen into oxygen (he splits the atom).
- 1920: Predicts the existence of the neutron.
- 1925-30: President of the Royal Society of London.
- 1929-37: Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
- 1931: Raised to the Peerage at New Year, Now Ernest, Lord Rutherford of Nelson.
- 1931-33: President of the Institute of Physics.
- 1937: Died 19th Oct 1937. Ashes interred in Westminister Abbey.