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BĚHOUNEK, František

* 28. 10. 1898, Prague, Czech Republic
† 1. 1. 1973, Prague, Czech Republic

physicist, radiologist

He was born in Prague as the son of a deepener of waterways, who spent his summers arranging dams and riverbanks, and during the winter obtained blocks of ice for breweries from the frozen Vltava River. After graduation, B. decided to study mathematics and physics at Charles University to become familiarised with the new field of radioactivity. After finishing his study, he received a scholarship from the French government, on the recommendation of his teacher Oton →Kučera, for a two-year apprenticeship at the Radium Institute at the Sorbonne, led by Marie Curie-Sklodowska. Here B. studied the radioactivity of natural substances and artificial radionuclides, with which he defended his dissertation. Upon his return to Czechoslovakia, he became engaged in the measurements of the radioactivity of the atmosphere, rocks and water in the shafts of Jáchymov mines, where, as a partner of the Radiology Institute and as a commissioner of the Ministry of Public Works, he was also interested in the use of radioactive water from the Svornost cave for healing purposes. Today a rich well of radioactive water is named after him, and a modern spa also bears his name.
On the basis of his works in the field of atmospheric electric energy, the radioactivity of the atmosphere and cosmic radiation, he received an invitation to participate in an aviation mission to the North Pole. In spite of this, there was no room for him on the »Norge« zeppelin in 1926, so he travelled with the »Italy« zeppelin, run by General Nobile, and in 1928 survived its crash landing. This experience provided him with authentic material for his first juvenile book Trosečníci na kře ledové (Shipwreck on an Ice Floe). Together, there are forty titles in this genre written by his hand. In the background of these stories, he popularised scientific discoveries and scientific problems in an unobtrusive way.
He habilitated in 1929 at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University in Prague, in the field of radioactivity and atmospheric electricity. Mostly after World War II, the seminars on physical chemistry, which he ran, together with Jaroslav →Heyrovský and Rudolf Brdička, became a place where specialists in this field became acquainted with one another. Even before the war, together with →Heyrovský, B. published the book Úvod do radioaktivity (Introduction to Radioactivity), and together with F. Novak the book Lékařská radiologie (Medical Radiology).
In connection with the research into radioactivity, B. was also engaged in the establishment of a national radiology institute and an observatory of atmospheric electricity in Štrbské Pleso, a physics department at the Radiomedical (now Oncological) Institute of Nuclear Research in Řež and at the Faculty of Technical and Nuclear Physics of Charles University. In the 1950s, he issued the books Radiological Physics and Artificial Radioactivity. In 1954, he was appointed professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University, however, he left it a year later for the newly established Faculty of Technical and Nuclear Physics, where at first he headed the Chair of Nuclear Chemistry, and from 1963 onwards, the Chair of Dosimetry and Ionising Radiation.
In the last years of his scientific work, B. focused on the expert field of the dosimetry of ionising radiation and established a school that further developed the standardised protection and technological dosimetry.
He was the founder of measurements of the electrical properties of the atmosphere and the use of radioactivity in medicine.

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva