George de Hevesy, Hungarian chemist

George de Hevesy, Hungarian chemist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: George de Hevesy (1885-1966), Hungarian chemist. His major contributions to science were made in 1923. The first was the discovery of the element hafnium (Hf), predicted from Mendeleev's periodic table. The second was the development of a technique called radioactive labelling (or tracing). In this, an element is replaced by one of its chemically identical radioactive isotopes. This is traced through a reaction by its radioactivity. For these discoveries, de Hevesy was awarded the 1943 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was made a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (1939) and received its Copley Medal (1949).

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