Biography of Frederick Soddy
Frederick Soddy (1877-1956) was a chemist who lectured at the University before the First World War, and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921.
Born in Eastbourne and educated at Oxford, Soddy spent two years in Canada working with Sir Ernest Rutherford on radioactivity, and then with Sir William Ramsay at University College, London. He moved to Glasgow in 1904 as a lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Radioactivity, and it was during his ten years at the University that he completed his most important research into the chemistry of radioactive elements.
Working with collaborators including the laboratory assistant Alexander Fleck (who later rose to become Chairman of ICI), Soddy developed the "Displacement Law" - that, "when an alpha or beta ray is emitted, the element moves to a different place in the periodic table." In 1913 he formulated the concept of "radio elements chemically non-seperable" which, at the suggestion of Dr Margaret Todd, a fellow guest at a dinner party in his father-in-law's house at 11 University Gardens, he named "isotopes".
Soddy left the University in 1914 to the Chair of Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen, and in 1919 became Dr. Lees Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. By his will, he established the Frederick Soddy Trust to provide grants to "groups studying the whole life of a community."