In 1896, French scientist Antoine Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity which was an early contribution to atomic theory. He discovered this phenomenon while experimenting with uranium and a photographic plate.Continue Reading
Becquerel began his experiment by exposing a crystal that contained uranium to sunlight. After the crystal had soaked up some sunshine, Antoine Becquerel placed it on a photographic plate. The uranium crystal imprinted its image on to the photographic plate, leading Becquerel to the conclusion that the uranium was releasing the absorbed energy of the sun in the form of an x-ray. In the absence of light, however, the uranium still imprinted its image on to the photographic plate. Becquerel was surprised, since there was no obvious source of energy involved. He assumed the image was caused by a spontaneous emission from the uranium, but he had in fact discovered radioactivity.
Following up on Becquerel's discovery, Pierre and Marie Curie began experimenting with uranium and the concept of radioactivity. In 1903, the Curies and Becquerel were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of radioactivity and their research. Marie Curie also discovered two new radioactive elements which were named polonium and radium. She was awarded a second Nobel Prize in 1911 for her findings, become the first person to ever be awarded two Nobel Prizes.Learn more about Chemistry
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was an 18th-century French scientist who is perhaps best known for his role in the discovery of oxygen. Born the son of a lawyer in 1743, Lavoisier studied law himself and became a successful lawyer and public servant in the time of Louis XVI. Throughout his life, however, he pursued scientific inquiry as a hobby.Full Answer >
Carbon was named by French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, and it is named after the Latin word for charcoal, "carbo." Carbon has been known since ancient times, and it is most commonly obtained from coal deposits.Full Answer >
Irene Joliot-Curie and her husband Frederic were both nuclear physicists who experimented with the manipulation of elements, particularly as it related to their radioactivity. Her crowning achievement came in 1936 with the discovery that radioactive isotopes could be created from otherwise stable elements.Full Answer >
By general consensus, the founder of modern chemistry is Antoine Lavoisier, who wrote the book Elements of Chemistry in 1787. In it, he established the conservation of mass after chemical interactions, and compiled the known elements at that time. Before Lavoisier, much of chemistry was closer to alchemy.Full Answer >