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Frederick Soddy ( 1877 - 1956 )  Category ( Chemists ) [suggest a correction]

Frederick Soddy was chemist who worked on radiation and radioactive elements. He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1921 for the discovery of the source of radiation, the change in matter upon radioactive decay, and isotopes. He was born on September 2, 1877 in Eastbourne, Sussex, England. His father, Benjamin Soddy was merchant working out of London.

Soddy attended Eastbourne College and then the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth. In 1895 he began studying at Merton College at Oxford University after receiving a scholarship. He graduated from Oxford three years later with honors in chemistry. He continued working on research at Oxford for the next two years.

In 1900, Soddy became a demonstrator for the chemistry department at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It was at McGill that he began working on radioactivity with Sir Ernest Rutherford, the famous discoverer of the nucleus of atoms.

Soddy and Rutherford worked together on radioactive elements such as radium. They determined that radiation came from the disintegration of atoms, which then formed new matter. They published several joint papers on the topic.

After two years in Montreal, Soddy went to University College, London. Here he worked with Sir William Ramsay. They discovered that decaying radium produced helium.

In 1904, Soddy became a lecturer of radioactivity and physical chemistry at the University of Glasgow. He held this position until 1914. He continued his work on radioactivity here and discovered the "displacement law," the fact that when elements give off helium they become lighter by two elements on the periodic table.

Soddy also discovered isotopes during his time at Glasgow. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different masses. In 1914, he became a professor of chemistry at the University of Aberdeen. The first world war interrupted his research and after the war he moved on to become the Dr. Lees Professor of Chemistry at Oxford. He remained there until his retirement in 1937.

After the discoveries Soddy made in his earlier career, he turned away from radioactivity and focused on political, economic, and social issues. He published his ideas about economics, in which he stated that energy, not money is the real wealth of a society. His theories were ignored at the time, but today have influenced biophysical and ecological economic theories.

Soddy married Winifred Beilby in 1908. She died in 1937, the same year he retired from Oxford. He died on September 22, 1956 in Brighton.

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Title :Chemistry 1921
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Title :Frederick Soddy - Biography
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