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Honouring Ern

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Rutherford Trophies

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Rutherford Trophies

The Rutherford Trophy For Demonstrations in Physics

The Rutherford Trophy for Demonstrations in Physics is awarded by the New Zealand Institute of Physics to stimulate the development and improvement of simple lecture and laboratory demonstrations of physical principals. It is awarded spasmodically at the biennual conference of the NZIP.

I initiated the trophy and competition in 1973 under the Mathematics and Physics Section of the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand. The trophy is curved, black anodised, aluminium plate. The illustration engraved in the stainless steel plate is taken from Rutherford's early research in New Zealand in which his brilliance at making simple apparatus to perform profound experiments was already obvious. The caption reads In his first published research Rutherford used this simple apparatus to demonstrate the high frequency magnetisation of iron. (His first published research reported the work from his second year of research.) The medal is a gold plated Rutherford medal, as issued by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1971 to mark the centennial of the birth of Ernest Rutherford.

The Trophy was first offered for nationwide competition via the NZIP when I was the organiser of its 1980 biennial conference. There were no entries that year.

Peter Fowler (Rutherford's grandson) gave me retrospective permission to use the Rutherford name for this trophy.

Previous winners are
1973 Eric Mangin, UC, Demonstration of colours in oil films; and Carol Miles, UC, The cheese dish experiments.
1974 Philip Woollaston, University of Canterbury, Linear dynamics.
1976 Michael Fogden, Christs College, Beats using 2 spring pendulum.
1987 Malcolm Bowling, Marlborough BHS, Ultrasound velocity meter.
1992 Alistair Steyn-Ross, Waikato University, Microwave diffraction.
1993 Alister Riddell, Hamilton Boys' High School, Circular motion.
1997 Les Black, Riccarton HS, Bridge rectifier using Electroflash.
1999 Graham Batchelor, Derek Chirnside and Sue Napier, Riccarton HS, Class investigations using water rockets.
2001 Philip Hooper, a simple demonstration of rotation for high schools.
2003 Bill Hayes, John McGlashan College, grease spot photometer to compare ac and dc.
2005 Suresh Chandra, Liston College, simple resonance tubes of variable length.
2008 Fred Johnson, Upper Hutt, ZL2AMJ. A DVD on radioscience for physics teachers.
2013 Howard Lukefahr, Victoria University of Wellington, A Range of Demonstrations for senior science and 1st year university.
2017 John Campbell, University of Canterbury, Physics Dems DVD and Firewalking.

The Trophy will next be awarded at the Biennial Conference of the NZIP.

If the last date is more than two years old send me a rocket to update the list.


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