Antoine Henri Becquerel

Picture of Antoine Henri Becquerel

Date of Birth: 12/15/1852

Age: 55

Place of Birth: Paris

Citizenship: France


B. received his secondary education at the Lycee Louis the Great, and in 1872 he entered the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. Two years later he transferred to the High School of bridges and roads, where he studied engineering, taught and conducted independent research. In 1875 he began to study the impact of magnetism on the linearly polarized light, and the following year began his teaching career as a lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique. He received a degree in technical sciences in the Graduate School of bridges and roads in 1877 and began working at the National Directorate of roads and bridges. A year later, B. became an assistant of his father at the Museum of Natural History, while continuing to work at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Office of bridges and roads.

B. collaborated with his father for four years, writing a series of articles on the Earth`s temperature. After finishing your own research of linearly polarized light in 1882, B. continued study of his father in the field of luminescence, non-thermal light emission. In the mid-1880s. B. also developed a new method of spectrum analysis, sets of different wavelengths emitted by the light source. In 1888 he received a doctorate awarded to him at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Paris for his thesis on the absorption of light in crystals.

In 1892, a year after the death of his father, Boris succeeded him as head of the department of physics at the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, as well as a similar department at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Two years later, B. became chief engineer in the Department of bridges and roads, and in 1895 received the chair of physics at the Ecole Polytechnique.

In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the radiation having a high energy and penetrating power, known today as X-rays, which occur when the cathode rays (electrons) emitted by the negative electrode (cathode) electron vacuum tube, hit a different part of the lamp during a high-voltage discharge. Since the incident rays also cause cathode luminescence when they strike the lamp, the wrongly assumed that the luminescence, and X-rays are produced by the same mechanism, and that luminescence can be followed by X-rays. Intrigued by this, B. decided to find out whether a luminescent material activated by light can, rather than cathode rays, also emit X-rays. He placed on photographic plates wrapped in thick black paper, luminescent material, which had at hand - potassium uranyl sulfate (one of the uranium salts), - and in a few hours, this package is exposed to sunlight. Thereafter, he found that the radiation passed through the paper and impacted on a photographic plate, which is clearly indicated that the uranium salt emitted X-rays as well as light and after sunlight was irradiated. However, to the surprise of B, it turned out that the same thing happened when a package was placed in a dark place without exposure to sunlight. B., apparently, observed feedback is not x-rays, and novogovida penetrating radiation emitted without an external source of radiation.

Over the next few months, BA repeated its experience with other known fluorescent substances and found that uranium compounds alone open them emit spontaneous emission. Also, non-luminescent uranium compounds similar radiation emitted, and therefore, it was not associated with luminescence. In May 1896, B. conducted experiments with pure uranium, and found that photographic plates showed a degree of exposure, which is three to four times higher than the radiation originally used uranium salts. The mysterious radiation, which obviously is an intrinsic property of uranium, has become known as Becquerel rays.

In the next few years, thanks to research B. and other scientists were, inter alia, found that the radiant power apparently does not decrease with time. Since 1900, B. came to the conclusion that these rays consist of electrons partially opened in 1897. George. Thomson as components of cathode rays. Pupil B., Marie Curie discovered that thorium also emits Becquerel rays, and renamed their radioactivity. She and her husband, Pierre Curie, after thorough research discovered two new radioactive elements - polonium (named after Marie Curie homeland - Poland) and radium.

B. and the Curies received the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics. Sam B. was specifically mentioned "in recognition of his outstanding achievements, expressed in the opening of spontaneous radioactivity". In the opening speech, which spoke on behalf of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences X.R. Terneblad, three winners have been credited with the fact that they have proved that `those special types of radiation, which have so far been known only by electrical discharges in rarefied gas, are natural and more widespread. " Terneblad added that the results were obtained "new techniques that allow, under certain conditions to study the existence of matter in nature. Finally, it found a new source of energy, which is a complete interpretation is yet to come. "

B. married in 1874 at Lucy Zoe Marie Jamin, the daughter of a professor of physics. Four years later, his wife died in childbirth, sired by a son, Jean, and their only child, who later became a physicist. In 1890, B. married Louise Desiree Laurier. Upon receipt, it continued to conduct teaching and research work of the Nobel Prize. B. died in 1908 during a trip with his wife in her family estate in Le Croisic (Brittany).

In addition to the Nobel Prize, B. was awarded numerous honors, including medals Rumford, awarded by the Royal Society of London (1900), the Helmholtz Medal of the Berlin Royal Academy of Sciences (1901) and Barnard Medal of the American National Academy of Sciences (1905) . He was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1899, and in 1908 became one of its permanent secretary. B. was also a member of the French Physical Society, the Italian National Academy of Sciences, the Berlin Royal Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of London.