Friedrich Paneth

Friedrich Adolf Paneth FRS (31 August 1887 – 17 September 1958) was an Austrian-born British chemist. Fleeing the Nazis, he escaped to Britain. He became a naturalized British citizen in 1939. After the war, Paneth returned to Germany to become director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in 1953. He was considered the greatest authority of his time on volatile hydrides and also made important contributions to the study of the stratosphere.[1]

Friedrich Adolf Paneth FRS
Born31 August 1887
Died17 September 1958 (aged 71)
Education University of Vienna (PhD 1910)
Known for
AwardsLieben Prize (1916)
Liversidge Award (1936)
Liebig Medal (1957)
Scientific career
FieldsInorganic chemistry
Doctoral advisorZdenko Hans Skraup


Friedrich (Fritz) Paneth was born as son of the physiologist Joseph Paneth. He and his three brothers were brought up in Protestant faith although both parents were of Jewish descent. He was educated in the Schotten gymnasium a renowned school in Vienna. He studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and after working with Adolf von Baeyer at the University of Munich he received his PhD with Zdenko Hans Skraup at the organic chemistry department of the University of Vienna in 1910.

He abandoned organic chemistry and in 1912 joined the Institute for Radium Research, Vienna radiochemistry group of Stefan Meyer. In 1913 he visited Frederick Soddy at the University of Glasgow and Ernest Rutherford at the University of Manchester. In this year he married Else Hartmann; they had a son and daughter. After his habilitation in 1913 he became assistant of Otto Hönigschmid at the University of Prague. From 1919 till 1933 he was professor in various German universities:(University of Hamburg 1919, Berlin University 1922, Königsberg University 1929.

In 1927, Paneth and Kurt Peters published his results on the transformation of hydrogen to helium, now known as cold fusion.[2] They later retracted the results, saying they had measured background helium from the air.[3][4]

During Hitlers Machtergreifung in 1933 he was on a lecture tour in England and did not return to Germany. In 1939 he became professor at the University of Durham where he stayed until his retirement in 1953.

A call to become director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz caused him to return to Germany. He founded the Department of Cosmochemistry there and initiated research on meteorites. He worked in the Institute until his death in 1958.

Career summary

Honours and awards

Paneth received the Lieben Prize (1916), the Liversidge Award (1936), and the Liebig Medal (1957). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1947.

The mineral panethite is named after him, as is the lunar crater Paneth.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Harry Julius Emeléus; Emeleus, H. J. (1960). "Friedrich Adolf Paneth. 1887-1958". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 6: 226–246. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1960.0034. JSTOR 769343.
  2. ^ Fritz Paneth and Kurt Peters (1926). "Über die Verwandlung von Wasserstoff in Helium". Naturwissenschaften. 14 (43): 956–962. Bibcode:1926NW.....14..956P. doi:10.1007/BF01579126.
  3. ^ PANETH, FRITZ (1927). "The Transmutation of Hydrogen into Helium". Nature. 119 (3002): 706–707. Bibcode:1927Natur.119..706P. doi:10.1038/119706a0.
  4. ^ U.S. Department of Energy (1989). "A Report of the Energy Research Advisory Board to the United States Department of Energy". Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2008-05-25

Astatine is a radioactive chemical element with symbol At and atomic number 85. It is the rarest naturally occurring element in the Earth's crust, occurring only as the decay product of various heavier elements. All of astatine's isotopes are short-lived; the most stable is astatine-210, with a half-life of 8.1 hours. A sample of the pure element has never been assembled, because any macroscopic specimen would be immediately vaporized by the heat of its own radioactivity.

The bulk properties of astatine are not known with any certainty. Many of them have been estimated based on the element's position on the periodic table as a heavier analog of iodine, and a member of the halogens (the group of elements including fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine). Astatine is likely to have a dark or lustrous appearance and may be a semiconductor or possibly a metal; it probably has a higher melting point than that of iodine. Chemically, several anionic species of astatine are known and most of its compounds resemble those of iodine. It also shows some metallic behavior, including being able to form a stable monatomic cation in aqueous solution (unlike the lighter halogens).

The first synthesis of the element was in 1940 by Dale R. Corson, Kenneth Ross MacKenzie, and Emilio G. Segrè at the University of California, Berkeley, who named it from the Greek astatos (ἄστατος), meaning "unstable". Four isotopes of astatine were subsequently found to be naturally occurring, although much less than one gram is present at any given time in the Earth's crust. Neither the most stable isotope astatine-210, nor the medically useful astatine-211, occur naturally; they can only be produced synthetically, usually by bombarding bismuth-209 with alpha particles.

Cold fusion

Cold fusion is a hypothesized type of nuclear reaction that would occur at, or near, room temperature. This is compared with the "hot" fusion which takes place naturally within stars, under immense pressure and at temperatures of millions of degrees, and distinguished from muon-catalyzed fusion. There is currently no accepted theoretical model that would allow cold fusion to occur.

In 1989 Martin Fleischmann (then one of the world's leading electrochemists) and Stanley Pons reported that their apparatus had produced anomalous heat ("excess heat") of a magnitude they asserted would defy explanation except in terms of nuclear processes. They further reported measuring small amounts of nuclear reaction byproducts, including neutrons and tritium. The small tabletop experiment involved electrolysis of heavy water on the surface of a palladium (Pd) electrode. The reported results received wide media attention and raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy.Many scientists tried to replicate the experiment with the few details available. Hopes faded due to the large number of negative replications, the withdrawal of many reported positive replications, the discovery of flaws and sources of experimental error in the original experiment, and finally the discovery that Fleischmann and Pons had not actually detected nuclear reaction byproducts. By late 1989, most scientists considered cold fusion claims dead, and cold fusion subsequently gained a reputation as pathological science. In 1989 the United States Department of Energy (DOE) concluded that the reported results of excess heat did not present convincing evidence of a useful source of energy and decided against allocating funding specifically for cold fusion. A second DOE review in 2004, which looked at new research, reached similar conclusions and did not result in DOE funding of cold fusion.A small community of researchers continues to investigate cold fusion, now often preferring the designation low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) or condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS). Since articles about cold fusion are rarely published in peer-reviewed mainstream scientific journals anymore, they do not attract the level of scrutiny expected for mainstream scientific publications.

Eugen Glueckauf

Eugen Glueckauf FRS (9 April 1906, Berlin – 12 September 1981, Oxford) was a German-born British expert on nuclear power.

Glueckauf received his doctorate in 1932 from the Technische Hochschule, Berlin. On 1 April 1933 he was fired from his research because of his Jewish heritage. Shortly thereafter he escaped from the Nazis to London. There, he was able to find work as a research assistant to Friedrich Paneth, Imperial College, London (1934–39). Thereafter, he held the following positions:

Research associate, University of Durham, 1939–47

Mackinnon Research Student of the Royal Society, 1942–44

Group-leader and later Branch-head in Chemistry Division, Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, 1947–71

Consultant to AERE, 1971–81In addition to over 100 scholarly articles, he published Atomic Energy Waste in 1961; it became a standard reference. He contributed in the fields of micro-gas analysis of atmospheric gases, theory of ion exchange and chromatography, radio chemistry, electrolyte solution chemistry. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969.

Fajans–Paneth–Hahn Law

The Fajans–Paneth–Hahn Law (also Fajans precipitation rule, Fajans-Peneth precipitation and adsorption rule, Hahn law of precipitation and adsorption, Fajans Law), in chemistry, is a rule governing how a small amount of one substance (tracer) is carried down to a precipitate of another substance present in much larger amount (carrier) by coprecipitation or adsorption.

The rule states that:

the lower the solubility of the tracer cation with the anion of the carrier, the greater the amount of the tracer carried down by the carrier through co-precipitates or adsorption;

when the tracer substance forms a mixed crystal, then the separation by co-precipitation only weakly depends on the conditions;

the tracer will adsorb on the surface of the carrier precipitate if the precipitate acquired a surface charge opposite to that of the carrier ions in the solution; and then the separation strongly depends on the condition of precipitation.The amount carried down is strongly affected by presence of complexing species regardless if it occurs by formation of mixed crystals or adsorption.

The law is named after chemists Kazimierz Fajans, Friedrich Paneth and Otto Hahn.

The Fajans-Paneth-Hahn law is essential for understanding the behaviour of minute amounts of substances (e.g., carrier-free radionuclides) in solutions. Note that the tracer is precipitated from the solution even when present at concentration far below its solubility limit. The law is also applied for separation of tracer substances by co-precipitation.

Free-radical reaction

A free-radical reaction is any chemical reaction involving free radicals. This reaction type is abundant in organic reactions. Two pioneering studies into free radical reactions have been the discovery of the triphenylmethyl radical by Moses Gomberg (1900) and the lead-mirror experiment described by Friedrich Paneth in 1927. In this last experiment tetramethyllead is decomposed at elevated temperatures to methyl radicals and elemental lead in a quartz tube. The gaseous methyl radicals are moved to another part of the chamber in a carrier gas where they react with lead in a mirror film which slowly disappears.

When radical reactions are part of organic synthesis the radicals are often generated from radical initiators such as peroxides or azobis compounds. Many radical reactions are chain reactions with a chain initiation step, a chain propagation step and a chain termination step. Reaction inhibitors slow down a radical reaction and radical disproportionation is a competing reaction. Radical reactions occur frequently in the gas phase, are often initiated by light, are rarely acid or base catalyzed and are not dependent on polarity of the reaction medium. Reactions are also similar whether in the gas phase or solution phase.

Geoffrey Wilkinson

Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson FRS (14 July 1921 – 26 September 1996) was a Nobel laureate English chemist who pioneered inorganic chemistry and homogeneous transition metal catalysis.

Göttingen Manifesto

The Göttingen Manifesto was a declaration of 18 leading nuclear scientists of West Germany (among them the Nobel laureates Otto Hahn, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg and Max von Laue) against arming the West German army with tactical nuclear weapons in the 1950s, the early part of the Cold War, as the West German government under chancellor Adenauer had suggested.


Hafnium is a chemical element with symbol Hf and atomic number 72. A lustrous, silvery gray, tetravalent transition metal, hafnium chemically resembles zirconium and is found in many zirconium minerals. Its existence was predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, though it was not identified until 1923, by Coster and Hevesy, making it the last stable element to be discovered. Hafnium is named after Hafnia, the Latin name for Copenhagen, where it was discovered.Hafnium is used in filaments and electrodes. Some semiconductor fabrication processes use its oxide for integrated circuits at 45 nm and smaller feature lengths. Some superalloys used for special applications contain hafnium in combination with niobium, titanium, or tungsten.

Hafnium's large neutron capture cross-section makes it a good material for neutron absorption in control rods in nuclear power plants, but at the same time requires that it be removed from the neutron-transparent corrosion-resistant zirconium alloys used in nuclear reactors.

Joseph Paneth

Joseph Paneth (6 October 1857 – 4 January 1890) was an Austrian physiologist born in Vienna. Paneth is remembered for his description of "Paneth cells", which are cells that provide host defense against microbes in the mucosa of the small intestine.

He studied at the Universities of Heidelberg and Vienna, where he worked with physiologist Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke (1819-1892). After a short stay at the University of Breslau, he returned to Vienna, where in 1886 he became a lecturer at the university. In 1883-84 he worked at the zoological station at Villefranche, near Nice.

He was a good friend of psychologist Sigmund Freud, who made a posthumous reference of Paneth in "The Interpretation of Dreams". Paneth is also remembered for his correspondence with philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

He was the father of chemist Friedrich Paneth (1887–1958).

Kurt Peters

Kurt Gustav Karl Peters (17 August 1897 – 23 May 1978) was an Austrian chemist. His work focused on the area of fuel technology, physical chemistry and catalytic reactions as well as the separation of rare gases and hydrocarbons.

List of British Jewish scientists

List of British Jewish scientists is a list that includes scientists from the United Kingdom and its predecessor states who are or were Jewish or of Jewish descent.

List of Durham University people

This is a list of people associated with Durham University, founded in 1832 in England. This includes alumni, those who have taught there, done research there or were involved in its founding. Durham is a collegiate university, so where known and if applicable, they are shown alongside their associated college.

Durham alumni are active through organizations and events such as the annual reunions, dinners and balls. 67 Durham associations ranging from international to college and sports affiliated groups cater for the more than 109,000 living alumni. A number of Durham alumni have made significant contributions in the fields of government, law, science, academia, business, arts, journalism, and athletics.

Liversidge Award

The Liversidge Award recognizes outstanding contributions to physical chemistry. Named for the English-born chemist Archibald Liversidge, it is awarded by the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Montreal Laboratory

The Montreal Laboratory in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was established by the National Research Council of Canada during World War II to undertake nuclear research in collaboration with the United Kingdom, and to absorb some of the scientists and work of the Tube Alloys nuclear project in Britain. It became part of the Manhattan Project, and designed and built some of the world's first nuclear reactors.

After the Fall of France, some French scientists escaped to Britain with their stock of heavy water. They were temporarily installed in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where they worked on reactor design. The MAUD Committee was uncertain whether this was relevant to the main task of Tube Alloys, that of building an atomic bomb, although there remained a possibility that a reactor could be used to breed plutonium, which might be used in one. It therefore recommended that they be relocated to the United States, and co-located with the Manhattan Project's reactor effort. Due to American concerns about security (many of the scientists were foreign nationals) and patent claims by the French scientists and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), it was decided to relocate them to Canada instead.

The Canadian government agreed to the proposal, and the Montreal Laboratory was established in a house belonging to McGill University; it moved to permanent accommodation at the Université de Montréal in March 1943. The first eight laboratory staff arrived in Montreal at the end of 1942. These were Bertrand Goldschmidt and Pierre Auger from France, George Placzek from Czechoslovakia, S. G. Bauer from Switzerland, Friedrich Paneth and Hans von Halban from Austria, and R. E. Newell and F. R. Jackson from Britain. The Canadian contingent included George Volkoff, Bernice Weldon Sargent and George Laurence, and promising young Canadian scientists such as J. Carson Mark, Phil Wallace and Leo Yaffe.

Although Canada was a major source of uranium ore and heavy water, these were controlled by the Americans. Anglo-American cooperation broke down, denying the Montreal Laboratory scientists access to the materials they needed to build a reactor. In 1943, the Quebec Agreement merged Tube Alloys with the American Manhattan Project. The Americans agreed to help build the reactor. Scientists who were not British subjects left, and John Cockcroft became the new director of the Montreal Laboratory in May 1944. The Chalk River Laboratories opened in 1944, and the Montreal Laboratory was closed in July 1946. Two reactors were built at Chalk River. The small ZEEP went critical on 5 September 1945, and the larger NRX on 21 July 1947. NRX was for a time the most powerful research reactor in the world.


Paneth may refer to:

Fajans–Paneth–Hahn Law, chemistry rule concerning co-precipitation and adsorption

Friedrich Paneth (1887–1958), Austrian-born British chemist

Joseph Paneth (1857–1890), Austrian physiologist from Vienna

Paneth (crater), lunar impact crater that is located on the far side of the Moon

Paneth cell, found in the intestinal tract

Stefan Meyer (physicist)

Stefan Meyer (27 April 1872 – 29 December 1949) was an Austrian physicist involved in research on radioactivity. He became director of the Institute for Radium Research in Vienna and received the Lieben Prize in 1913 for his research on radium. He was the brother of Hans Leopold Meyer who was also awarded the Lieben Prize.

Tube Alloys

Tube Alloys was a code name of the research and development programme authorised by the United Kingdom, with participation from Canada to develop nuclear weapons during the Second World War. Starting before the Manhattan Project in the United States, the British efforts were kept classified and as such had to be referred to by code even within the highest circles of government.

The possibility of nuclear weapons was acknowledged early in the war. At the University of Birmingham, Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch co-wrote a memorandum explaining that a small mass of pure uranium-235 could be used to produce a chain reaction in a bomb with the power of thousands of tons of TNT. This led to the formation of the MAUD Committee, which called for an all-out effort to develop nuclear weapons. Wallace Akers, who oversaw the project, chose the deliberately misleading name "Tube Alloys". His Tube Alloys Directorate was part of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The Tube Alloys programme in Britain and Canada was the first nuclear weapons project. Due to the high costs, and the fact that Britain was fighting a war within bombing range of its enemies, Tube Alloys was ultimately subsumed into the Manhattan Project by the Quebec Agreement with the United States, under which the two nations agreed to share nuclear weapons technology, and to refrain from using it against each other, or against other countries without mutual consent; but the United States did not provide complete details of the results of the Manhattan Project to the United Kingdom. The Soviet Union gained valuable information through its atomic spies, who had infiltrated both the British and American projects.

The United States terminated co-operation after the war ended with the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. This prompted the United Kingdom to relaunch its own project, High Explosive Research. Production facilities were established and British scientists continued their work under the auspices of an independent British programme. Finally in 1952, Britain performed a nuclear test under codename "Operation Hurricane". In 1958, in the wake of the Sputnik crisis and the British demonstration of a two-stage thermonuclear bomb, the United Kingdom and the United States signed US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement, which resulted in a resumption of Britain's nuclear Special Relationship with the United States.

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