Richard Adolf Zsigmondy
Born: 1 April 1865, Vienna, Austrian Empire (now Austria)
Died: 24 September 1929, Göttingen, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Goettingen University, Göttingen, Germany
Prize motivation: "for his demonstration of the heterogenous nature of colloid solutions and for the methods he used, which have since become fundamental in modern colloid chemistry"
Field: colloidal chemistry, physical chemistry
Richard Zsigmondy received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1926.
Prize share: 1/1
In chemistry very small particles that are finely dispersed in another substance are called colloids. Colloid particles are so small that they cannot be observed in a regular microscope. In 1902 Richard Zsigmondy introduced an idea that led to the ultramicroscope, which makes it possible to observe very small particles by illuminating the preparation being studied in a direction that is perpendicular to the viewing angle. Richard Zsigmondy used the ultramicroscope to show the heterogeneous structure of colloids, which contain particles that are small but vary in size.