Abstracts of papers - DVT 02:2
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Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 2, Vol. XXXV (2002)

/02:2:65/

Michael HEYROVSKÝ

THE ORIGIN OF POLAROGRAPHY. ON ITS 80TH ANNIVERSARY

(Vznik polarografie. K 80. výročí)

The origin of polarography can be ascribed to the day when Jaroslav Heyrovský measured for the first time a polarization curve with a dropping mercury electrode on Friday 10th February 1922 in the Chemical Institute of Charles University in Prague. This event had been preceded by a complex development in the knowledge of electrochemistry. Towards the end of the 19th century in several leading scientific laboratories simultaneous research was going on independently on the polarization of electrodes on one hand and on the dropping mercury electrode on the other hand, but these two subjects failed to be treated together. Heyrovsky was asked by his physics teacher, professor Bohumil Kučera, to continue in the study of Kucera’s original method of measuring the surface tension of polarized mercury by means of a dropping mercury electrode. In trying to follow the teacher’s advice Heyrovsky found that the particular electrode was perfectly suited for studying electrode processes by measuring current instead of weight or time of the mercury drops. The name “polarography” came into use after an automatic apparatus called the “polarograph” was designed in 1924 for recording polarization curves.


© M. Barvík 2004