As a chemistry student or lover of chemistry, there is need for you to know some noticeable chemists who have contributed greatly to chemistry, that’s why I compile this list of notable chemists, the list will still be updated because they are more than the number speculated.
1. Marie Curie (nee Sklodowska) (1867 – 1934).
Marie Curie was a Polish immigrant to France. She registered as a student in Paris in 1891. In 1894, she got married to Pierre Curie, but continued her work as a research student. Her topic for investigation was Radio-activity which Becquerel had recently discovered. There was no laboratory for her at the University, so she worked in a shed in her husband’s work place. Pierre was the chief of the laboratory at the School of Physics and Chemistry.
Pierre himself was doing a research in electricity, but his wife’s findings interested him so much that he joined in her research. For that research, the Curies shared the Nobel price with Becquerel in 1903. Marie was awarded the doctorate degree in 1903. In 1904, Pierre was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Paris. With the funds from the Nobel price, he built a laboratory.
However, the new-found joy of the Curies was short-lived, for Pierre died of an accident in 1906. Marie succeeded her husband as Professor of Physics at the University of Paris. She continued her research in radioactivity. In 1911, she became the first (and till now the only) person to be awarded the Nobel price twice. She traced radioactivity to uranium, thorium, polonium (an element she named after her native country), and radium (so called because it radiates light).
2. Joseph John Thompson (1856 – 1940)
J. J. Thompson was born near Manchester in 1856. He attended Owens College in his hometown between 1870 and 1876, then went to Trinity College from where he graduated in Mathematics and Physics in 1880. He worked in Trinity from 1880 till his death in 1940. His investigations were on the popular topic at the time; conductivity of electricity by gases at reduced pressure. His work convincingly established the fact that cathode rays were streams of negatively charged particles which he called corpuscles, but which we today call electrons. He rose to the post of Head of the Cavendish Laboratory which Maxwell and Rayleigh headed before him.
3. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1849-1923):
Roentgen was a professor of physics at the University of Wurzburg. His discovery of x-rays brought him fame. The discovery came to him by surprise while he was investigating a report that cathode rays could pass through a thin foil of metal. He saw that the new rays passed through each of the following:
- A book 1000 pages thick
- Two packs of cards
- A sheet of tin foil
- Half an inch of aluminum
- Thick sheet or rubber and glass
but was stopped by flint glass containing lead. The most significant effect of the rays which aroused the interest of scientists and medical doctors was that it produced a shadow of Roentgen’s bone when he placed his hand on their path.
The implication of this was that they could be used in the diagnosis of broken bones and foreign bodies, and possibly to cure some diseases. Roentgen called the strange rays x-rays because he was clever in algebra, a subject in which x usually represents an unknown. They are still called x-rays today, though some people call them Roentgen rays, after the discoverer.
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