Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1959
Born: 20 December 1890, Prague, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic)
Died: 27 March 1967, Prague, Czechoslovakia
Affiliation at the time of the award: Polarographic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Science, Prague, Czechoslovakia
Prize motivation: "for his discovery and development of the polarographic methods of analysis."
Prize share: 1/1
Chemical and electrical phenomena are often associated, as in the case of redox reactions, when electrons are emitted and absorbed. In 1922 Jaroslav Heyrovsky discovered a method for analyzing the occurrence and content of various substances in solutions using electrical measurements. The solution is analyzed with two electrodes, one of which is a dropping mercury electrode. At a voltage specific for different substances, redox reactions cause the current to rapidly increase to a level dependent on the concentration of the substance.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.