- Soddy, Frederick
born Sept. 2, 1877, Eastbourne, Sussex, Eng.died Sept. 22, 1956, Brighton, SussexBritish chemist.He worked with Ernest Rutherford to develop a theory of the disintegration of radioactive elements. In 1912 he was among the first to conclude that elements might exist in forms (isotopes) of different atomic weights but indistinguishable chemically. In Science and Life (1920) he pointed out the value of isotopes in determining geologic age (see carbon-14 dating). For his investigations of radioactivity and isotopes, he received a 1921 Nobel Prize.
* * *▪ British chemistborn Sept. 2, 1877, Eastbourne, Sussex, Eng.died Sept. 22, 1956, Brighton, SussexEnglish chemist and recipient of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Chemistry 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 (Rutherford, Ernest, Baron Rutherford of Nelson, of Cambridge) at McGill University, Montreal (1900–02), then under the chemist Sir William Ramsay (Ramsay, Sir William) at University College, London. After teaching at the University of Glasgow, Scotland (1904–14), Soddy became a professor of chemistry at Oxford (1919–37).Soddy worked 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.Soddy turned away from the study of radioactivity in 1914 and became involved in social and economic issues. He was highly critical of the inability of the world's economic systems to make full use of scientific and technological advances.
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