Frederick Soddy


Frederick Soddy
(1877-1956)

English chemist who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1921 for investigating radioactive substances and for elaborating the theory of isotopes. He is credited, along with others, with the discovery of the element protactinium in 1917.
Educated in Wales and at the University of Oxford, he worked under the physicist Sir Ernest Rutherford at McGill University, Montreal (1900-02), then under the chemist Sir William Ramsay at University College, London. After teaching in Scotland, he was professor of chemistry at Oxford (1919-36).

Soddy did work with Rutherford on the disintegration of radioactive elements. He was among the first to conclude in 1912 that certain elements might exist in forms that differ in atomic weight while being indistinguishable and inseparable chemically. These, upon a suggestion by Margaret Todd, he called isotopes. In Science and Life (1920) he pointed out their value in determining geologic age.



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