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Basically as the question asks, if you set up an alcohol vapor cloud chamber with the gold foil inside, wouldn't you be able to "see" the alpha particle's path the entire time? It just seems like the demonstration would be way cooler (pun not intended) and visually interesting. I'm just wondering if any issues would arise that would cause the two experiments to interfere.

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    $\begingroup$ Sure it would work, but there would be many more tracks heading to the foil than backscattering. Cloud chamber pictures did reveal alpha-induced nuclear reactions in the 1920s. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 9, 2022 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ Which is a neat story in and of itself, PMS Blackett searching through 400,000+ tracks in 23,000 pictures to find the 8 nuclear reactions. Never let students complain about the tedium of data analysis... $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 9, 2022 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ Look at Figure 1 in the Wikipedia article Rutherford scattering. $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    Aug 9, 2022 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Farcher So not only is it possible, it's been done. I couldn't find it before, so thank you! $\endgroup$
    – David Hobs
    Aug 9, 2022 at 23:23

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It seems that Rutherford himself saw the tracks of alpha particles in a cloud chamber,

alpha

Cloud formed on ions due to α-Rays (Image: CTR Wilson Roy, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Volume 85, Plate 9)

. . .

The tracks of the particles become visible as trails of droplets, which can be photographed.

You ask:

I'm just wondering if any issues would arise that would cause the two experiments to interfere.

I do not think there is a problem of interference. The original experiment was in a cloud chamber after all. See a video here.

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  • $\begingroup$ Awesome, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – David Hobs
    Aug 12, 2022 at 19:25

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