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DefinitionPioneers of Nuclear Medicine
Georg Charles von HevesyGeorg Charles von Hevesy
Father of Radiochemistry and Nuclear Medicine

born Aug. 1, 1885, Budapest, Austria-Hungary [now in Hungary]
died July 5, 1966, Freiburg im Breisgau, W.Ger.

Also called George Charles de Hevesy chemist and recipient of the 1943 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. His development of isotopic tracer techniques greatly advanced understanding of the chemical nature of life processes. In 1923 he also discovered, with the Dutch physicist Dirk Coster, the element hafnium.

Educated at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin and the University of Freiburg, Hevesy in 1911 began work at the University of Manchester, England, under Ernest Rutherford on the chemical separation of radium. Though his attempts proved unproductive, they stimulated him to explore the use of radioactive isotopes as tracers. He joined Friedrich Paneth at Vienna (1912) and made significant progress in tracer studies. Invited to Copenhagen (1920), Hevesy and Coster, pursuing a suggestion of Niels Bohr, discovered hafnium among ores of zirconium.

Hevesy became a professor at Freiburg in 1926 and began to calculate the relative abundance of the chemical elements. In 1934, after preparing a radioactive isotope of phosphorus, he analyzed various physiological processes by tracing the course of "labeled" radioactive phosphorus through the body. These experiments revealed the dynamic state of the body constituents. After fleeing from the Nazis in 1943, Hevesy became a professor at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, Stockholm. His published works include the two-volume Adventures in Radioisotope Research (1962).

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