Heyrovsky, Jaroslav

Heyrovsky, Jaroslav,

1890–1967, Czech chemist, Ph.D. Charles Univ. of Prague, 1918; D.Sc. University College, London, 1921. Heyrovsky was director of the Polarography Institute at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences from 1950 to 1963 and a professor at Charles Univ. from 1926 to 1954. He received the 1959 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery and development of polarography, an electrochemical method of analyzing solutions of reducible or oxidizable substances. The technique enables identification of most chemical elements as well as analysis of alloys and various inorganic compounds.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Heyrovský, Jaroslav


Born Dec. 20, 1890, in Prague; died there Mar. 27, 1967. Czechoslovak chemist; founder of polarography. Member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1952).

Heyrovský graduated from the University of Prague in 1918. He was a student of B. Brauner. From 1910 to 1913 he studied at University College, London, and worked there in 1913-14 under F. Donnan. In 1922 he became a lecturer and, in 1926, a professor of physical chemistry at the University of Prague. In 1922 he became the director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the University of Prague. In 1926 he worked at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1950 he became the director of the State Institute of Polarography in Prague, which was named after him in 1964. He was a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1966), as well as of a number of other academies.

In 1922, while studying the process of electrolysis at a mercury dropping electrode, Heyrovský established a relationship between the oxidation and reduction potentials and the composition of substances, as well as between the magnitude of diffusion current and the concentration of a substance in the electrolyte, which was the basis for polarography. In 1925, in collaboration with his pupil M. Shikata, he built a polarograph that made possible the automatic recording of polarization curves in voltage-current coordinates. Heyrovský thoroughly developed the polarographic method, as well as the theory and technique of polarographic research, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1959.


“Electrolysa se rtutovou kapkovou kathodou.” Chemické listy pro vědu a průmysl, 1922, vol. 16, pp. 256-304.
Polarographie. Vienna, 1941.
In Russian translation:
Poliarograficheskii metod: Teoriia i primenenie. Leningrad, 1937.
Tekhnika poliarograficheskogo issledovaniia: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1951.
Osnovy poliarografii. Moscow, 1965. (With J. Kuta.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.