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Antoine Henri Becquerel, French physicist, b. 1852, d. 1908. Becquerel's father and grandfather were both physicists as well. He was educated at the Polytechnic in Paris, receiving his docteur-ès-sciences in 1888.

After receiving his degree, he worked in many places, including the Museum of Natural History, the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, and the Paris Museum. He was appointed as a Professor at the Polytechnic in 1895.

His early research including polarization phenomena and the absorption of light by crystals. However, his most famous work came in 1896 when he discovered natural radioactivity. He determined several properties of the radiation, including the fact that it could be deflected by electric and magnetic fields, and the fact the radiation was not the same as Röntgen's x-rays.

In honour of his discovery, a unit of radiation, the Becquerel, is named after him.

He was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize jointly with Pierre and Marie Curie. His contribution was acknowledged as such by the Nobel foundation:

"in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity"

Back to Nobel Prizes: Physics

Researched on www.nobel.se

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