1. Going in various directions
2. Found or placed far apart and in no order
3. Divided among many or several
1. A light shower that falls in some locations and not others nearby; SYN. sprinkle, sprinkling.
2. A small number dispersed haphazardly:; SYN. sprinkling.
3. The physical process in which particles are deflected haphazardly as a result of collisions.
In physics, the random deviation or reflection of a stream of particles or of a beam of radiation such as light.
Alpha particles scattered by a thin gold foil provided the first convincing evidence that atoms had very small, very dense, positive nuclei. From 1906 to 1908 Ernest Rutherford carried out a series of experiments from which he estimated that the closest approach of an alpha particle to a gold nucleus in a head-on collision was about 10-14 m. He concluded that the gold nucleus must be no larger than this. Most of the alpha particles fired at the gold foil passed straight through undeviated; however, a few were scattered in all directions and a very small fraction bounced back toward the source. This result so surprised Rutherford that he is reported to have commented: “It was about as credible as if you had fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you”.
Light is scattered from a rough surface, such as that of a sheet of paper, by random reflection from the varying angles of each small part of the surface. This is responsible for the dull, flat appearance of such surfaces and their inability to form images (unlike mirrors). Light is also scattered by particles suspended in a gas or liquid. The red and yellow colors associated with sunrises and sunsets are due to the fact that red light is scattered to a lesser extent than is blue light by dust particles in the atmosphere. When the Sun is low in the sky, its light passes through a thicker, more dusty layer of the atmosphere, and the blue light radiated by it is scattered away, leaving the red sunlight to pass through to the eye of the observer.