Antoine H Becquerel (1852-1908) was a French scientist renowned for his work and subsequent discovery into the evidence of radioactivity for which he was awarded a Nobel prize.
Antoine Henri Becquerel was born on the 15th December 1852 in Paris, France to a family of nobility and active scientific history. He received his scientific education at the Ecole Polytechnique completing it in 1874. By 1895 he sat as the Chairman of Physics at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, a title previously held by his father 1.
Research into phosphorescence
Becquerel's initial research explored natural phosphorescence of materials exposed to visible light. He would wrap a photodetector in black paper and phosphorescent materials in an attempt to create a pattern (figure 2), proposing that these materials would emit x-ray-like radiation when they are exposed to sunlight. Becquerel conducted these experiments in both full sun days and cloudy days, expecting a difference in pattern; however, he found the patterns on the photodetector to be similar.
Upon further experimentation, involving uranium salts, Becquerel concluded that these materials were emitting energy without any extrinsic excitation based on the lack of variability in the photodetector pattern relative to the experimental conditions (light, no light).
This serendipitous discovery saw Becquerel work alongside Marie Skłodowska-Curie for many years into the theory of radioactivity, eventually sharing a Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery of radioactivity.
Antoine was first married in 1874 to Lucie Zoé Marie Jamin, whom passed away after giving birth to his first son, Jean Becquerel. He later married again to Louise Désirée Lorieux in 1890.
Antoine Henri Becquerel died on the 25th August in 1908 in Le Croisic, Brittany, France.
- Rumford medal, 1900
- Nobel Prize in Physics, 1903
- Barnard medal, 1905
- discovered radioactivity
- the SI unit for radioactivity, the becquerel, was named in his honor.
- 1. Strauss HW, Zaret B, Pieri G, Lahiri A. History corner: Antoine Henri Becquerel. (2017) Journal of nuclear cardiology : official publication of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology. 24 (5): 1515-1516. doi:10.1007/s12350-017-0998-5 - Pubmed
- 2.Lidén K. [Henri Becquerel and the discovery of natural radioactivity]. (1986) Sydsvenska medicinhistoriska sallskapets arsskrift. 23: 151-7. Pubmed
- 3. Dutreix J, Dutreix A. Henri Becquerel (1852-1908). (1995) Medical physics. 22 (11 Pt 2): 1869-75. doi:10.1118/1.597442 - Pubmed
- 4.Banerjee A K A review of radiology and Nobel Prizes 2017 Rad Magazine 43 510 22
Related Radiopaedia articles
History of radiology
- key milestones
- 1895: Wilhelm Roentgen detects x-rays
- 1896: Antoine Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
- 1896: Sydney Rowland founds the first radiology journal, Archives of Clinical Skiagraphy
- 1896: Thomas Edison invents the first commercially-available fluoroscope
- 1898: Marie Curie publishes her paper 'Rays emitted by uranium and thorium compounds'
- 1913: Albert Salomon commences research leading to mammography
- 1927: Egas Moniz develops cerebral angiography
- 1934: Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie artificially produce radioisotopes
- 1936: John Lawrence uses phosphorus-32 to treat leukemia
- 1939: Kitty Clark publishes Clark’s Positioning in Radiography
- 1950s: David Kuhl invents Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- 1953: Sven-Ivar Seldinger develops his famous technique
- 1957: Ian Donald invents fetal ultrasound
- 1964: Charles Dotter introduces image-guided intervention
- 1965: Benjamin Felson publishes his Principles of Chest Roentgenology
- 1972: Godfrey Hounsfield introduces the CT scanner (co-developed with Allan Cormack)
- 1977: Ray Damadian builds the first commercial MRI scanner
- 2005: Frank Gaillard creates Radiopaedia.org :)
- 2012: inaugural International Day of Radiology
- key figures in the history of radiology
- Antoine Henri Becquerel
- Kathleen "Kitty" Clark
- Allan M Cormack
- Marie Curie
- Ray V Damadian
- Ian Donald
- Charles T Dotter
- Thomas A Edison
- Charles Thurstan Holland
- Godfrey N Hounsfield
- Frederick Joliot
- Irene Joliot-Curie
- David E Kuhl
- Paul C Lauterbur
- Peter Mansfield
- Egas Moniz
- Wilhelm C Roentgen
- Sven-Ivar Seldinger
- Albert Soiland
- Florence Stoney
- important figures in the history of radiology
- Nobel Prize winners in radiology
- history of modalities
- plain radiography
- nuclear medicine
- interventional radiology
- history of radiology journals
- history of radiology organizations
- United Kingdom
- United States
- pioneering radiology books