Henri Becquerel

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Henri Becquerel

  1. 1. Antoine Henri Becquerel Early Life Antoine Henri Becquerel was method for extracting metals born in Paris on December 15, from their ores. Becquerel 1852. He was a member of a was a third generation scien- distinguished family of scholars tist. Written accounts of and scientists. His father, that period of his life suggest Alexander Edmond Becquerel, there was a close relationship was a Professor of Applied between father and son in the Physics and had done research passing on of the scientific on solar radiation and on phos- tradition. Two previous gen- phorescence, while his grandfa- erations of scientists gave ther, Antoine César, had been a Henri Becquerel the drive to Fellow of the Royal Society and further enlighten the world Antoine Henri Becquerel the inventor of an electrolytic through scientific research. Educational Background Becquerel entered the with his dissertation on the Metiers. Then in 1892 he was Polytechnic in 1872, then absorption of light by crys- appointed Professor of Ap- the government depart- tals. From 1878 he had held plied Physics in the Depart- ment of Ponts-et- an appointment as an Assis- ment of Natural History at Chaussées in 1874, becom- tant at the Museum of the Paris Museum. He then ing an engineer in 1877 and Natural History, taking over later became a Professor at being promoted to Chief from his father in the Chair the Polytechnic in 1895. Engineer in 1894. In 1888 of Applied Physics at the he acquired his doctorate Conservatoire des Arts et
  2. 2. Antoine Henri Becquerel Contributions to Science Following a discussion He had inherited from property of the ura- with Henri Poincaré on his father a supply of nium atom. Becquerel the radiation which uranium salts, which concluded "that the had recently been dis- phosphoresce on expo- phosphorescent sub- covered by Röntgen (X sure to light. When the stance in question -rays) and which was salts were placed near emits radiation which accompanied by a type to a photographic plate penetrates paper of phosphorescence in covered with opaque opaque to light." Ini- the vacuum tube, Bec- paper, the plate was tially he believed that William Rontgen. querel decided to in- discovered to be the sun's energy was Inset Photo: vestigate whether fogged. The phenome- being absorbed by the there was any connec- non was found to be uranium which then Radiograph of Frau tion between X-rays common to all the ura- emitted X rays. Rontgen’s Hand and naturally occurring nium salts studied and Further investigation, phosphorescence. was concluded to be a on the 26th and 27th of February, was de- such as the sun. Bec- layed because the querel had discovered “Decisiveness is often skies over Paris were radioactivity, the spon- overcast and the ura- taneous emission of ra- the art of timely nium-covered plates diation by a material. cruelty.” Becquerel intended to Later, Becquerel demon- - Henri Becquerel expose to the sun were strated that the radia- returned to a drawer. tion emitted by uranium On the first of March, shared certain charac- he developed the pho- teristics with X rays tographic plates ex- but, unlike X rays, could pecting only faint im- be deflected by a mag- ages to appear. To his netic field and there- surprise, the images fore must consist of were clear and strong. charged particles. For This meant that the his discovery of radioac- uranium emitted radia- tivity, Becquerel was tion without an exter- awarded the 1903 Nobel nal source of energy Prize for physics. Stamp made in honor of Becquerel’s Achievements Page 2
  3. 3. Impact on Our Lives The discovery of radioac- calculations. One Becquerel tivity has help us a great (Bq) is one disintegration per deal. We now know of ways second of a radioactive sub- to protect ourselves from stance. it. We have even found Marie also has a unit named ways to use it in medicine. after her: Radioactivity and radiation One Curie is the activity of a are used in cancer treat- substance which undergoes ment and for scans and x 3.7x1010 disintegrations per rays. A unit has been second. Seamour Sheep Comic on named after him, which helps us when doing Radiation Other Facts About Becquerel Becquerel published his in 1889 and succeeded to Mlle. Janin, the findings in many papers, Berthelot as Life Sec- daughter of a civil engi- principally in the An- retary. He was also a neer. They had a son “Nothing in life is to be nales de Physique et de member of the Accade- Jean, born 1878, who feared. It is only to be Chimie and the Comptes mia dei Lincei and of was also a physicist: the understood.” Rendus de l'Academie the Royal Academy of fourth generation of des Sciences. Berlin, amongst others. scientists in the Bec- - Marie Curie He was elected a mem- He was made an Officer querel family. Antoine ber of the Academie of the Legion of Honour Henri Becquerel died at des Sciences de France in 1900. He was married Le Croisic on August 25, Interesting Facts Marie Curie was actually it’s name. Marie and her the student of Antoine husband Pierre went on to Henri Becquerel. Al- discover the elements though Becquerel discov- known as radium and polo- ered the phenomenon of nium. They also shared to radioactivity, it was Nobel Peace Prize with Marie and Marie Curie who gave it Becquerel in 1903. Pierre Curie Page 3
  4. 4. References Excellence, Access. (2009, December 4). Radioactivity: historical figures. Retrieved from http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/ historical_background.php From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Am- sterdam, 1967 Heaven, S. (Artist). (2008). Seamour sheep. [Web]. Retrieved from http:// www.seamoursheecom/comics/english/seamour-sheep-61.jpgp. My opinions on my project and the scientist that I am researching can be found in my blog. Type in as seen below. marissaals.wordpress.com

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