Born: 28 September 1852, Paris, France
Died: 20 February 1907, Paris, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: Sorbonne University, Paris, France
Prize motivation: "in recognition of the great services rendered by him in his investigation and isolation of the element fluorine, and for the adoption in the service of science of the electric furnace called after him."
Prize share: 1/1
Investigations of various salts and minerals during the 19th century led chemists to suspect that there was a previously unknown element with properties that resembled chlorine and iodine. However, it was very difficult to isolate the substance. By developing an ingenious apparatus, Henri Moissan succeeded in producing a stream of gas consisting of the sought-after element - fluoride - in 1886. Moissan also developed a new type of furnace in which an electric arc is used as a source of heat. In the furnace Henri Moissan managed to synthesize microscopic diamonds and other materials.