Born May 27, 1887, in Warsaw; died May 18, 1975, in Ann Arbor, Mich. American physical chemist of Polish origin.
Fajans graduated from the University of Leipzig in 1907 and did graduate work at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Manchester. From 1911 to 1917, he taught at the Karlsruhe Technische Hochschule. He was a professor at the University of Munich from 1917 to 1935 and at the University of Michigan from 1936 to 1957. Simultaneously with F. Soddy in 1913, Fajans discovered the radioactive displacement law; he also discovered the radioisotopes 234Pa and 215Po and the double decomposition of 214Bi. Together with F. Paneth, he formulated the rule for the coprecipitation of radioactive elements (Fajans-Pan-eth rule) in 1913.
Fajans’ principal works in physical chemistry deal with refractometric research, with the relationship between the deformation of electron shells and the chemical and optical properties of inorganic compounds, with nondissociated molecules and complex ions in solutions of strong electrolytes, and with the adsorption of ions and dyes on saltlike compounds. Fajans was a foreign corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1924).
WORKSIn Russian translation:
Radioaktivnost’ i noveishee razvitie ucheniia o khimicheskikh elementakh, 2nd ed. [Odessa] 1923.
Fiziko-khimicheskii praktikum. Leningrad, 1931. (With J. Wuest.)
“Vospominaniia, sviazannye s istoriei nauki o radioaktivnosti.” Priroda, 1973, no. 10, pp. 74–82.