Henri Becquerel1901

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Henri Becquerel, who made this image by exposing a piece of gelatin silver paper to uranium salts, called his photographs “observations.” Becquerel came from a family of scientists who made significant contributions to the fields of electrochemistry, optics, photography, radioactivity studies, and quantum theory. His photographic observations were the first proof of radio-activity, for which he was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. This photograph, visualizing the radioactive rays that created it, registers imagery that lies far beyond the scope of the human eye, granting it a material presence.

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  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Henri Becquerel
  • Date: 1901
  • Physical Dimensions: w12.4 x h9.2 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photograph
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase funded by the S. I. Morris Photography Endowment