Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
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.