Henri Becquerel Facts

Henri Becquerel Facts
Antoine Henri Becquerel (15 December 1852 to 25 August 1908) was a French physicist. He discovered radioactivity and worked with Marie and Pierre Curie. The SI unit for radioactivity, the becquerel (Bq) is named for him.
Interesting Henri Becquerel Facts:
Becquerel was born in Paris into a family which produced four generations of scientists including his grandfather (Antoine C├ęsar Becquerel), father (Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel), and son (Jean Becquerel).
He studied engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des ponts et Chaussees.
In 1892 he was awarded the physics chair at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, becoming the third member of his family to do so.
His doctoral thesis was on the plane polarization of light and the phosphorescence and absorption of light by crystals.
1896 Becquerel's was studying the effects of light on uranium salts which he discovered that uranium spontaneously emits a type of radiation unlike the X-rays discovered by Roentgen in November of 1895.
On February 24, 1896 he reported details of his experiment to the French Academy of Sciences outlining the use of photographic plates, a phosphorescent mineral and bright sunlight.
In late February he prepared his photographic plates as usual, but it was overcast so he put them in a drawer, planning to expose them to bright sunlight the next day.
When he opened the plates from the dark drawer, the images were exposed even more intensely and he concluded correctly that the penetrating rays came from the uranium itself.
Abel Niepce de Saint-Victor had reported that uranium salts darkened photographic plates in 1857 but he did not pursue the idea.
In 1903 Becquerel shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Marie and Pierre Curie "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity."
In 1908 Becquerel was elected Permanent Secretary of the Academie des Sciences.
He was awarded the Rumford Medal in 1900, the Helmholtz Medal in 1901, the Barnard Medal in 1905 and the Toffle Medal in 1908.
Craters on the Moon and Mars are named for him.


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