Jaroslav Heyrovský Biography
- Nobel Prize Winner (1959)
Jaroslav Heyrovský (December 20, 1890 – March
27, 1967) was a Czech chemist and inventor. Heyrovský was the inventor of the
polarographic method, father of electroanalytical chemistry, and recipient of
the Nobel Prize.
The main field of work of Heyrovský was polarography.
Jaroslav Heyrovsky was born in Prague on 20th December, 1890, the fifth child of
Leopold Heyrovsky, Professor of Roman Law at the Czech University of Prague, and
his wife Clara, née Hanl.
He obtained his early education at secondary school till 1909 when he began his
study of chemistry, physics and mathematics at the Czech University, Prague.
From 1910 to 1914 he continued his studies at University College, London, under
Professors Sir William Ramsay, W.C.Mc.C. Lewis and F.G. Donnan, taking his B.Sc.
degree in 1913. He was particularly interested in working with Professor Donnan,
During the First World War Heyrovsky did his war service in a military hospital
as dispensing chemist and radiologist, which enabled him to continue his studies
and to take his Ph.D. degree in Prague in 1918 and D.Sc. in London in 1921.
Heyrovsky started his university career as assistant to Professor B. Brauner in
the Institute of Analytical Chemistry of the Charles University, Prague; he was
promoted to Associate Professor in 1922 and in 1926 he became the first
Professor of Physical Chemistry at this University.
Heyrovsky's invention of the polarographic method dates from 1922 and he
concentrated his whole further scientific activity on the development of this
new branch of electrochemistry. He formed a school of Czech polarographers in
the University, and was himself in the forefront of polarographic research.
In 1950 the Professor was appointed Director of the newly established
Polarographic Institute which has been incorporated into the Czechoslovak
Academy of Sciences since 1952.
Many universities and seats of learning have honoured Professor Heyrovsky. He
was elected Fellow of University College, London, in 1927, and received honorary
doctorates of the Technical University, Dresden, in 1955, the University of
Warsaw in 1956, the University Aix-Marseille in 1959, and the University of
Paris in 1960. He was granted honorary membership of the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences, Boston, Mass., in 1933; of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
in 1955; the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, in 1955; the Polish Academy
of Sciences, Warsaw, in 1962; was elected Corresponding Member of the German
Academy of Sciences, Berlin, in 1955; member of the German Academy of Natural
Scientists, Leopoldina (Halle-Saale) in 1956; Foreign Member of the Royal Danish
Academy of Sciences, Copenhagen, in 1962; Vice-President of the International
Union of Physics from 1951 to 1957; President and first honorary member of the
Polarographic Society, London; honorary member of the Polarographic Society of
Japan; honorary member of the Chemical Societies of Czechoslovakia, Austria,
Poland, England and India.
In Czechoslovakia he was awarded the State Prize, First Grade, in 1951, and in
1955 the Order of the Czechoslovak Republic.
Heyrovsky has lectured on polarography in the United States of America in 1933,
the USSR in 1934, England in 1946, Sweden in 1947, the People's Republic of
China in 1958, and in U.A.R. (Egypt) in 1960 and 1961.
In 1926 Professor Heyrovsky married Marie Koranová, and there are two children
of the marriage, a daughter, Judith, and a son, Michael.
From Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1942-1962, Elsevier Publishing Company,
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later
published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The information is
sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate. To cite this
document, always state the source as shown above.
Jaroslav Heyrovsky died on March 27, 1967. He was interred in the Vyšehrad
cemetery in Prague.
LIST OF NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS IN
CHEMISTRY PART II.
Grubbs Robert H
Harden Sir Arthur
Sir Walter Norman
Hoff Jacobus Henricus
Kendrew Sir John
Klug Sir Aaron
Kroto Sir Harold
Libby Willard Frank
MacDiarmid Alan G
Marcus Rudolph A
Martin Archer John
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