Who opened the radioactivity phenomenon?
Are considered that it was made by Henri Becquerel, hereditary professor, the Nobel Prize laureate of physics of 1903 for “discovery of spontaneous radioactivity“.
However, including myself the expert on history of radioactivity and nuclear projects, in one of original works of K. E. Tsiolkovsky I read: “About 32 years ago (Becquerel and much earlier Niyeps) open the radioactive phenomena“.
My arrogance was once again shamed by an original source. A name of A. Niyeps (Nyeps - Abel Niepce de Saint Victor, 1805-1870) in the history of radioactivity up to this point to me did not meet.
40 minutes of work on the Internet opened the surprising facts. It appears, in France the 19th century there was the whole clan Nyepsov - inventors in the field of the photo. Abel Nyeps experimented with uranium nitrate from 1857 to 1861 and found the phenomenon of a flare of photoplates after contact with uranium salts. He came to a conclusion that “the phenomenon is some type of the beams invisible to our eyes“. But opening was premature. Nobody could explain this phenomenon. Edmond Becquerel (1820-1891), the father Henry who worked in the Natural History Museum with A. Nyeps discussed this opening too and gave own wrong treatment. At that time A. Nyeps`s supervision were rejected and, appear, are forgotten.
It is easy to imagine that occurred in Henri Becquerel`s mind in 1895, in three years after he took the place of the father in the Natural History Museum when he read article B. X-ray about opening of X - beams. A. Bekkerel knew from the father and from publications of 1857-1861 in the French academic magazine “Comptes rendus de l`Acadmie des sciences“ about A. Nyeps`s experiences. He repeated Nyeps`s experiments, having presented it accident.
It should be noted that A. Bekkerel badly looks at the end of this dramatic history. Shortly after he declared “the invisible radiation which is let out by uranium salts“ in Academy in 1896, several dear scientists specified that the same opening with the same mineral and actually the same method was made forty years before, and results are published in the same magazine.
It is necessary to tell that the reference to the predecessor would not damage to A. Bekkerel because by the time of award of the Nobel Prize of A. Nyeps died (according to the status the Nobel Prize posthumously is not awarded). So, restoring justice, at least in this note it is necessary to consider as the pioneer of the phenomenon of radioactivity of Abel Nyeps (Niyeps) in 1857-1861. At the time of K. E. Tsiolkovsky this history was well-known.
Unfortunately, the similar facts science history is full. Let`s remember at least a collision with opening of combinational dispersion of light (Raman`s effect) by G. S. Landsberg, L. I. Mandelstam and at the same time Ch. V. Raman.
An opposite example of an ethic act, a sample of a conscientious attitude to business, respect for scientific predecessors Alfred Wallace showed, having written article about natural selection during completion of work of Charles Darwin on the work “Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or Preservation of Favorable Races in Fight for Life“.
It published the work after a publication of the book of Ch. Darvin and even entered the term “Darwinism“.