Antoine Henri Becquerel was a French physicist who, while using newly discovered X-ray technology to study the effects of light on uranium salts, discovered a new type of radiation. This new form of radiation coming from the uranium salts registered on a photographic plate.
What Becquerel had discovered was spontaneous radioactivity. For this, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, a prize he shared jointly with Marie Curie. Becquerel's work with radioactive materials left him burned and scarred. These burns and scars were the result of lengthy exposure to radioactivity, which may have contributed to his death at a relatively early age of 56.