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Henri Becquerel

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

In 1896, while investigating phosphorescence in uranium salts, Becquerel discovered radioactivity accidentally.

The SI unit for radioactivity, the becquerel (Bq), is named after him.

Describing his method to the French Academy of Sciences on 24 January 1896, he said:

One wraps a Lumière photographic plate with a bromide emulsion in two sheets of very thick black paper, such that the plate does not become clouded upon being exposed to the sun for a day. One places on the sheet of paper, on the outside, a slab of the phosphorescent substance, and one exposes the whole to the sun for several hours. When one then develops the photographic plate, one recognizes that the silhouette of the phosphorescent substance appears in black on the negative. If one places between the phosphorescent substance and the paper a piece of money or a metal screen pierced with a cut-out design, one sees the image of these objects appear on the negative. ... One must conclude from these experiments that the phosphorescent substance in question emits rays which pass through the opaque paper and reduces silver salts.12

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".



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