Ernest Rutherford, who grew up in colonial New Zealand and came to Cambridge on a scholarship, made numerous revolutionary discoveries, among them the orbital structure of the atom and the concept of the "half-life" of radioactive materials, which led to a massive reevaluation of the age of the earth--previously judged just 100 million years old. Above all, perhaps, Rutherford and the young men working under him were the first to split the atom, unlocking tremendous forces--forces, as Rutherford himself predicted, that would bring us the atomic bomb. Rutherford, awarded a Nobel Prize and made Baron Rutherford by the queen of England, was also a great ambassador of science, coming to the aid of colleagues caught in the Nazi and Soviet regimes. Under Rutherford's rigorous and boisterous direction, a whole new generation of remarkable physicists emerged. In Richard Re's hands, Rutherford leaps off the page, a ruddy, genial man and a towering figure in scientific history.