Nobel Prize winning atom-splitting scientist honoured by University of Manchester

An historic University building that housed one of Manchester’s most famous scientists was officially renamed in his honour on Monday 4 December 2006. The Coupland Building just off Oxford Road was officially renamed and opened in honour of Nobel Prize winner Ernest Rutherford. To mark the occasion, there was a special ceremony involving Rutherford’s great-granddaughter Professor Mary Fowler. Established in 1900, the Physical Laboratories at the University were, at the time, among the largest in the world. They soon became a centre for the study of atomic and nuclear physics. New Zealander Rutherford led the laboratories between 1907 and 1919. During this time he made some of his most significant contributions to science, including the splitting of the atom. The newly-named Rutherford Building houses the University’s International Development, Student Recruitment, Admission and Widening Participation activities, and also a small exhibition celebrating Rutherford’s work in Manchester.

Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “The renaming of this historic building is a fitting tribute to one of the University’s best-known pioneers. “It will ensure that the contribution made by Rutherford to the world of science is celebrated and remembered by staff, students and the wider public in years to come.” The University of Manchester’s modern reputation as an outstanding academic institution is built on decades of innovation by great figures like Rutherford. At the birth of the industrial revolution many leading scientists were drawn to Manchester. In 1824 they established the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute, which later became part of The University of Manchester. Rutherford is the latest pioneering scientist to have a University building named in his honour. Just a stones throw from the new Rutherford Building is the Kilburn Building, named after Professor Tom Kilburn, who built and demonstrated ‘The Baby’ in 1947 the world first computer capable of storing a program. Manchester was also home to John Dalton, who developed atomic theory and was considered to be one of the most influential thinkers of his time.

The Dalton Nuclear Institute was opened in July 2005 and is one the largest facilities of its kind in the UK, with research encompassing electricity generation, fuel cycles, waste treatment and disposal, decommissioning, policy and regulation.




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