Which of the following conclusions could not be derived from Rutherford’s α -particle scattering experiment?
(i) Most of the space in the atom is empty.
(ii) The radius of the atom is about 10–10 m while that of nucleus is 10–15 m.
(iii) Electrons move in a circular path of fixed energy called orbits.
(iv) Electrons and the nucleus are held together by electrostatic forces of attraction.

Answer: (iii)
Solution: (i) Most of the space in the atom is empty:
Rutherford’s α-particle scattering experiment showed that most of the α particles passed straight through the gold foil, indicating that most of the space in the atom is empty.
(ii) The radius of the atom is about 10–10 m while that of nucleus is 10–15 m: Rutherford’s experiment also showed that the α particles were deflected by the positively charged nucleus, indicating that the nucleus is very small compared to the size of the atom. Based on the results of the experiment, Rutherford estimated that the radius of the atom is about 10–10 m while that of nucleus is 10–15 m.
(iii) Electrons move in a circular path of fixed energy called orbits: This conclusion was actually proposed by Niels Bohr based on Rutherford’s experiment, but it was not directly derived from the experiment itself. Bohr used the results of the experiment to develop his model of the atom, which included the idea that electrons move in circular orbits of fixed energy.
(iv) Electrons and the nucleus are held together by electrostatic forces of attraction: Rutherford’s experiment showed that the positively charged α particles were deflected by the positively charged nucleus, indicating that there is a force of attraction between the two. This force is due to the electrostatic attraction between the positively charged nucleus and the negatively charged electrons.

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