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Ernest Rutherford on Money and Stamps


Since his death Ernest Rutherford has been honoured with his portrait on New Zealand's $100 note, on both the old paper version and the new plastic version. (They are both the same size – 155mm x 74mm.)

Old (paper):

New (plastic):

The Reserve Bank says this about the design:

155 x 74mm

Ernest, Lord Rutherford of Nelson
(1871-1937) is internationally recognised as the `father of the atom'. He changed the basic understanding of atomic science on three occasions. He explained the perplexing problem of naturally occurring radioactivity; determined the structure of the atom; and changed one element into another.
Nobel Prize Medal which Lord Rutherford received in 1908. Overlaying the medallion is a graph plotting the results from Lord Rutherford's investigations into naturally occurring radioactivity.

Since atoms existed before Ernest Rutherford came on the scene, it would be more accurate to say he is recognised as the 'father of the nuclear age'.


Rutherford quote: "In science there is only physics; all the rest is stamp collecting." Huh. So much for chemistry, and he was one of the most famous chemists.

Anyway, for all those chemists who want to collect stamps, Ernest Rutherford has appeared on several stamps around the world, mostly in 1971 to celebrate 100 years since his birth. The NZ Post Office released two stamps in 1971 (but only just, squeaking in at the beginning of December), and one in 1999.

Sweden, 1968
(to celebrate 60 years since the various Nobel Prizes were awarded to those pictured)

Antigua & Barbuda, 1971

Canada, 1971

Soviet Union, 1971
(CCCP is Russian for USSR)

Romania, 1971

New Zealand, 1971

New Zealand, 1999
(Rutherford actually split the atom in 1917 and published in 1919)