What experiment discovered the nucleus? Rutherford’s gold foil experiment showed that the atom is mostly empty space with a tiny, dense, positively-charged nucleus. Based on these results, Rutherford proposed the nuclear model of the atom.
How was the nucleus discovered? In 1911, Rutherford, Marsden and Geiger discovered the dense atomic nucleus by bombarding a thin gold sheet with the alpha particles emitted by radium. From this observation, they concluded that almost all the atomic matter was concentrated in a tiny volume situated at the atome center, the atomic nucleus.