AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Henri Becquerel (1852-1908), French physicist and discoverer of radioactivity. He placed a sample of pitchblende, an ore of uranium, on a covered photographic sheet, and noticed that it darkened the film. He realised that "Becquerel rays" must have been responsible, and that they were a property of the atoms of the material. His work led to the discovery of radium by Marie and Pierre Curie, and with them he shared the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics.
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