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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Ernest Rutherford

The ashes of the eminent physicist Ernest, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson were interred in the nave of Westminster Abbey, near to the graves of Newton and Lord Kelvin, on 25th October 1937. The inscription reads:


He was born on 30th August 1871 near Nelson in New Zealand, son of James and Martha (Thompson). After education in New Zealand he moved to Cambridge University and then to McGill University in Montreal. He married Mary Newton in 1900 and they had a daughter (who died in 1930). In 1908 he received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He continued Sir Joseph John Thomson's work on atomic physics and after much work on radioactivity he moved to the study of the structure of the atom. In 1920 he predicted the existence of the neutron. He was Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge and also President of the Royal Society and was awarded the Order of Merit. In 1914 he was knighted and in 1931 was made a baron. He died on 19th October 1937.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

See also Rutherford On This Day


30th August 1871


19th October 1937


25th October 1937


Scientist; physicist



Memorial Type


Material Type


Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford, Baron Rutherford by Walter Stoneman

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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