Becquerel Antoine Henry

(15.12.1852 – 25.08.1908)


French physicist, Nobel Prize winner in physics and one of the discoverers of radioactivity.

Born in a family of scientists, which gave four generations of scientists. He received a scientific education at the Polytechnic School and engineering education at the National School of Bridges and Roads.

In 1892, he became the third person from their family to head the department of physics at the National Museum of Natural History. In 1894, he became the chief engineer in the management of bridges and roads.

In 1896, Becquerel accidentally discovered radioactivity while researching phosphorescence in uranium salts. Investigating the work of Roentgen, he wrapped the fluorescent material in an opaque material together with photographic plates in order to prepare for an experiment that requires bright sunlight. However, even before the experiment was carried out, Becquerel discovered that the photographic plates were completely illuminated. This discovery prompted Becquerel to investigate the spontaneous emission of nuclear radiation. In 1903, he received, together with Pierre and Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize in Physics "In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the discovery of spontaneous radioactivity".

Becquerel was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 1889. In 1908 (in the year of his death) he took the post of life-long secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, taking this post after Berthelot's death.

In 1908 he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society of London.

Died at Le Croisic (Brittany).

Glacier in the Land of Albert I, West Svalbard Island. The coordinates are 79° 20'N   11° 30'E.


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