JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Henri Becquerel. Portrait of the French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel (1852-1908), discoverer of radioactivity, seen in his laboratory. Educated at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, he became professor of physics in 1895. In 1896 Becquerel discovered the phenomenon of radioactivity by showing that a uranium salt was able to blacken a wrapped photographic plate. In 1899 he noted that the radiation coming from the uranium salt could be deflected by a magnetic field. This allowed Becquerel to conclude that this radiation was partly composed of electrons discovered a few years before by J. J. Thomson. In 1903 Becquerel shared the Nobel Prize in physics with the Curies.
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