Why Rutherford was Wrong
We all know that the size of the nucleus compared to the total size of
the atom is small. It appears the main reason for believing this is
the result of the Rutherford scattering experiments which postulated
that the nucleus is a small point object containing all the positive
charge of the nucleus. The data appear to match the experimental
results quite well, so we assume Rutherford's postulate was correct,
eventhough, this is still a very indirect measure of the size of the
nucleus. It is still like firing bullets into a dark room to figure
out what is inside of the room. In this post, I will show that there
can be alternative explanations for the scattering results and that
the nucleus doesn't necessarily have to be a tiny speck within the

I have proposed a new model of the atom which postulates that atoms
are simply formed out of alternating sequences of electrons and
protons. The protons and electrons are arranged in a very particular
geometric sequence. You could think of this model as 2 sheets of alpha
particles (helium atoms) intersecting forming an X in the shape of an
octahedral. I call this the cubic atomic model. The details of this
theory can be found at:


This theory has been discussed at some length in the newsgroup:

A consequence of this theory is that the electrons are not orbiting
the nucleus. They are bound into the nucleus of the atom. Since there
are no orbiting electrons, the size of the atom should be dependent
only on the size of the nucleus, since there aren't any electrons to
make the atom larger than the nucleus. This would mean that the
nucleus would be much, much larger than is commonly thought. In fact,
the nucleus should be about the same size as the measured diameter of
the atom. This is in apparent disagreement with the famous Rutherford
scattering experiment which showed that the nucleus is a tiny
positively charged speck in the center of the atom. However, I have
done some rough calculations using the cubic model to show that the
same Rutherford scattering results could be reproduced by a much
larger atom nucleus which follows the cubic theory. The basic premise
is that the cubic atomic model forms atoms which have very thin edges.
You can imagine this by taking 2 pieces of paper and have them
intersect. If you were to shoot bullets through these sheets, the
bullets would only have to pass through the thin sheets and would be
undeflected. If you examine the photographs of larger atoms like
Krypton on my website, you can see how the atoms form an X octahedral
shape (like raw diamond crystal). The cubic theory postulates that the
alpha particles are able to pass through the thin arms of the atom
with virtually no deflection since the arms are not thicker than an
alpha particle. The only place where the alpha particles can reflect
with high angles is if it hits and tries to pass through a very thick
part of the atom. This would be like trying to hit the edges of the
intersecting sheets. The chance of this happening is fairly remote. I
have done calculations to determine how frequently you would expect to
see these reflective collisions and I have compared them with the
original Rutherford scattering experiment results and I can show that
the predicted percentage for the alpha particles at particular angles
for the cubic model roughly match the experimental results. The data
for the original Rutherford scattering data by GigerMardsden can be
found at:


I began my calculations by collecting the statistics on the size of
the gold atom according to the cubic model. It is 14 units high and
the arms are 10 units wide from side to side. I approximate this as a
sphere with a radius of 7. This has a spherical surface of 615. Since
the cubic atom is symmetrical, the unique orientations are only
contained in 1 quadrant of the sphere or 1/8 of the surface. This
corresponds to a 90 degree turn through each of the x,y,z axis. This
means the area of investigation is only 76. The size of the atomic
unit representing the area of the top of the atom's core is a 2 X 2
square with an area of 4. This means there are 76/4 = 19 unique
orientations can roughly fit into this quadrant with no overlap. There
are basically only 2 orientations which would result in high angle
reflections. These are the head-on (alpha tries to pass through core)
and edge-on (alpha tries to pass through arm edge). For a head on
orientation, I calculated a 4% chance of hitting the core directly,
32% chance the arms get hit and 64% chance of a complete miss. For the
edge on orientation, I calculated a 20% of hitting an arm and 80%
chance of a miss or pass through. I plugged these into the 19 possible
slots with 11 orientations being edge on, 1 orientation being head on
and the remaining 7 as being orientations where the alpha basically
passes through. The angles of deflection are based purely on a
classical elastic collision with the atom. Because the atom is
effectively a neutral matrix of joined helium atoms, the effect of the
columb forces deflecting the alpha are negligible.

The calculations show the percentage chance for:

A complete miss or pass through  86.3%  Would expect angle < 5 degrees
An arm gets hit                           13.1%  Would expect any angle 0 - 180
A direct hit of the core                  .21%   Would expect angle 90 - 180

This compares to the experimental data which shows:

Deflections less than 5 degrees      79.2%
Deflections 5 - 22                        20.4%
Deflections greater than 22            .35%

The details of this calculation can be found on an excel spreadsheet:


The predictions from the cube model and the actual experimental
results are not exactly the same by any means, however, they are in
the same rough ballpark. The main point you should observe is that the
cubic model is able to predict a scattering pattern whereby the vast
majority of the alpha particles pass right through (86%), while a tiny
fraction (.21%) gets deflected through high angles. This scattering
pattern does not necessarily have to be created by the atom postulated
by Rutherford as a tiny compact nucleus containing all the positive
charge. You can basically get the same result from the cubic atomic
model. A better calculation using a computer model to consider random
orientation and random alpha may produce results more comparable (or
not) with the actual experimental data and would provide a more
detailed range of angles to expect when an arm is struck.
Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to commit to such a

There would be other experiments to confirm or deny the cubic model
with Rutherford scattering. Perhaps some of these have already been
done. I would like to see the Rutherford scattering experiments
repeated but instead of using gold foil, use a form of crystallized
gold  (octahedral crystal) where we are reasonably sure that the gold
atoms are all aligned in the same direction, and see how the high
angle scattering depends on the orientation of the crystal. Based on
the cubic model, I would predict that the crystal would present very
little scattering in most directions, since the alpha particles are
able to pass through the thin parts of the atom, but when the crystal
is oriented so it hits the very edge of the atom and tries to pass
through the core or arms, it will bounce back strongly. I would
predict that we would see lots of scattering at 90 degree crystal
orientations, which would not be explainable by the Rutherford
formula. The Rutherford formula would predict the same scattering
pattern/amounts no matter what the orientation.

Another possible experiment would be to use low speed alpha particles.
At some point, if the speed of the alpha particles were slow enough,
it wouldn't be able to penetrate the atoms thin arms and you would see
almost all of the alphas being deflected at high angles. Rutherford
would predict that all of the alphas would penetrate no matter how
slow the alphas were going since there isn't much for the aphas to run
into and an electron isn't likely to deflect an alpha very much.

If anybody knows the results of these experiments, please post them to
help confirm or deny the plausability of the cubic atomic model. In
conclusion, the results of the Rutherford scattering experiments do
not conclusively prove the notion of the nucleus being a tiny speck in
the atom with surrounding electron clouds. Thus far, arguments against
Rutherford have lacked an alternative solid model to base calculations
on. The cubic atomic theory provides this solid model which you can
run calculations on to show that it can return results similar to the
experimental results of the Rutherford scattering experiment.