I'm reading John Gribbin's The Scientists, a history of Western science told by focusing on the people who made the various discoveries. It's a great book and I recommend it strongly.
I'm into the 20th century and there's a footnote:
Rutherford received the Nobel prize, in 1908, but for chemistry, not physics. Chemists regarded radioactivity as falling in their province in those days; but the award caused some hilarity among his colleagues, because Rutherford was known to regard chemistry as an inferior branch of science.
Can't you totally see that happening to Rodney? Finally getting the Nobel he's craved for so long, but having it be in something like chemistry? Oh, the ignominy! LOL! Someone's got to write a fic like that. :D