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Henri Becquerel

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Henri Becquerel

Antoine Henri Becquerel (December 15, 1852August 25, 1908) was a French physicist, Nobel laureate, and one of the discoverers of radioactivity.

Becquerel was born in Paris into a scientific family which, including him and his son, produced four generations of scientists. He studied science at the cole Polytechnique and engineering at the cole des Ponts et Chausses. In 1892 he became the third in his family to occupy the physics chair at the Musum National d'Histoire Naturelle. In 1894 he became chief engineer in the Department of Bridges and Highways.

Missing image
Becquerel_plate.jpg
Image of Becquerel's photographic plate which has been fogged by exposure to radiation from uranium salts. The shadow of a metal Maltese Cross placed between the plate and the uranium salts is clearly visible.

In 1896, Becquerel accidentally discovered radioactivity while investigating phosphorescence in uranium salts. Investigating the work of Wilhelm Conrad Rntgen, Becquerel wrapped a fluorescent mineral, potassium uranyl sulfate, in photographic plates and black material in preparation for an experiment requiring bright sunlight. However, prior to actually performing the experiment, Becquerel found that the photographic plates were fully exposed. This discovery led Becquerel to investigate the spontaneous emission of nuclear radiation. In 1903 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Pierre and Marie Curie "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity".

In 1908, the year of his death, he was elected permanent secretary of the Académie des Sciences. He died at the age of 55 in Le Croisic.

The SI unit for radioactivity, the becquerel (Bq) is named after him, and also there are Becquerel craters on the Moon and Mars.

See also

External links

de:Antoine Henri Becquerel es:Henri Becquerel eo:Antoine Henri BECQUEREL fr:Henri Becquerel is:Henri Becquerel it:Antoine Henri Becquerel he:אנרי בקרל nl:Antoine Henri Becquerel ja:アンリ・ベクレル no:Henri Becquerel pl:Antoine Henri Becquerel pt:Antoine Henri Becquerel sk:Antoine Henri Becquerel sl:Antoine Henri Becquerel sv:Henri Becquerel

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