Becke  Friedrich Karl Johann

(31.12.1855 - 18.06.1931)


Austrian mineralogist and petrographer.

Born in Prague in the family of a Sudeten German bookseller.

Primary and secondary education in high schools in Prague, Ceske Budejovice and Vienna. In 1874 he entered the University of Vienna and, under the influence of lectures by the teacher Gustav Chermak, decided to devote himself to mineralogy. Friedrich Becke's student work attracted Chermak's attention, and after graduating from university Becke became his assistant.

Becke's first printed work was devoted to describing a new polarizing microscope for a petrographic study of rocks and minerals. He conducted the first petrographic study of Austrian metamorphic rocks, and the results of this work formed the basis of his dissertation, defended in 1882.

Becke’s scientific career as a scientist began in 1882 as an assistant professor at Chernivtsi University, where from 1885 he was an ordinary professor of mineralogy, and from 1888 to 1890 he was a professor at Chernivtsi University in Ukraine.  In 1890, Becke was invited to the post of professor at Charles University in Prague and became the successor to V. Cefarovich on this post. He then worked at Karl Ferdinand University in Prague. In 1898, he emigrated to Austria, where he worked at the University of Vienna and where from 1918 to 1919 he headed the rector's office. From 1911 to 1929, he was General Secretary of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is considered the inventor of the method for determining minerals on the basis of their optical properties and the Becke line. Foreign Corresponding Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1912).

He died in Vienna.

Mountain range in the southwestern part of the island of Western Spitsbergen, Wedel Land. Coordinates 77° 28.7'N  14° 23.5'E.


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