It is the basis for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry he was awarded in 1908 "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances", for which he was the first Canadian and Oceanian Nobel laureate.
Rutherford moved in 1907 to the Victoria University of Manchester (today University of Manchester) in the UK, where he and Thomas Royds proved that alpha radiation is helium nuclei.
Rutherford arrived in Manchester in the summer of 1907, months before the university's term began. Rutherford was gradually turning his attention much more to the α (alpha), β (beta), and γ (gamma) rays themselves and to what they might reveal about the atom.
He had been named Langworthy Professor of Physics, successor to Arthur Schuster (1851–1934), who retired at age 56 to recruit Rutherford. That is, he was leaving radio-chemistry to others and turning to physics.
As the The New York Times stated, in a eulogy accompanying the announcement of his unexpected and unnecessary death in 1937.