Ernest Marsden
Sir Ernest Marsden was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

-New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

. He was born in East Lancashire, living in Rishton and educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School is a co-educational independent school in Blackburn, Lancashire, founded in 1509 as a boys' school. The term "school" is usually used to collectively refer to the following:...

, where an inter-house trophy rewarding academic excellence ('The Marsden Merit Trophy') bears his name.

He met Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson OM, FRS was a New Zealand-born British chemist and physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics...

 at the University of Manchester
University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is a public research university located in Manchester, United Kingdom. It is a "red brick" university and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities and the N8 Group...

. While still an undergraduate he conducted the famous Geiger-Marsden experiment
Geiger-Marsden experiment
The Geiger–Marsden experiment was an experiment to probe the structure of the atom performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden in 1909, under the direction of Ernest Rutherford at the Physical Laboratories of the University of Manchester...

 called the gold foil experiment in 1909 together with Hans Geiger under Rutherford's supervision. In 1915 he moved to Victoria University College
Victoria University of Wellington
Victoria University of Wellington was established in 1897 by Act of Parliament, and was a former constituent college of the University of New Zealand. It is particularly well known for its programmes in law, the humanities, and some scientific disciplines, but offers a broad range of other courses...

, New Zealand as Professor of Physics; he was recommended by Rutherford.

Marsden served in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 as a Royal Engineer
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 in a special sound-ranging section and earned the Military Cross
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

. Following the war he became New Zealand's leading scientist, founding the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Several countries have organizations called the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, abbreviated DSIR.-United Kingdom:...

 (DSIR) in 1926 and organizing its research particularly in the area of agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 he worked on radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 research and in 1947 became scientific liaison officer in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. He died at his home in Lowry Bay, Lower Hutt
Lower Hutt
Lower Hutt is a city in the Wellington region of New Zealand. Its council has adopted the name Hutt City Council, but neither the New Zealand Geographic Board nor the Local Government Act recognise the name Hutt City. This alternative name can lead to confusion, as there are two cities in the...

 on the shores of Wellington harbour in 1970.

Marsden's career recognitions included fellowship in the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 of London in 1946, president of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Royal Society of New Zealand
The Royal Society of New Zealand , known as the New Zealand Institute before 1933, was established in 1867 to co-ordinate and assist the activities of a number of regional research societies including the Auckland Institute, the Wellington Philosophical Society, the Philosophical Institute of...

 in 1947, the Rutherford Memorial Lecture in 1948, and knighthood in 1958. The Marsden Fund for basic research in New Zealand was set up in 1994. Massey University
Massey University
Massey University is one of New Zealand's largest universities with approximately 36,000 students, 20,000 of whom are extramural students.The University has campuses in Palmerston North , Wellington and Auckland . Massey offers most of its degrees extramurally within New Zealand and internationally...

 has named a major lecture theatre after him. He died in Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...


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