Jaroslav Heyrovský

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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.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The Czechoslovakian physical chemist Jaroslav Heyrovsky (1890-1967) had worked for years on a device that contained a mercury electrode so arranged that a small drop of mercury repeatedly fell through a solution to a mercury pool beneath.