Jaroslav Heyrovský

Jaroslav Heyrovský (1890 – 1967) was a professor of physical chemistry at Charles University in Prague. He published his work on electrolysis with a dropping mercury electrode (DME) in 1922 and in 1925 together with his Japanese collaborator Masuzo Shikata constructed a device registering the dependence of direct current on voltage using the DME electrode, which they termed, polarography. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1959 for his “discovery and development of polarography.”

Jaroslav Heyrovský; NTM


Polarography is an analytical method, which allows quantitative and qualitative analysis of the compounds in a solution simultaneously. The polarographic device is an apparatus used in the electrochemical analysis of presence and concentration of unknown reducible or oxidizable substances. In general, polarography is a technique in which the electric potential is varied in a regular manner between two sets of electrodes (indicator and reference) submersed in an electrolytic solution. The resulting polarization curve shows “waves.” The height of the wave indicates the concentration of the dissolved substance, while the position of the wave shows the kind of substances analysed.

The original polarographic apparatus was devised by Prof. Jaroslav Heyrovský, in cooperation with his Japanese student M. Shikata in 1924. It is one of five devices manufactured by technicians Metoděj Ineman and František Peták in the Physical Institute workshop. These five were the only existing polarography units until the year 1929 when V. and J. Nejedlý designed the first electrically propelled model; NTM

Nobel prize for discovery of polarography.

Gold Nobel plaque awarded to Prof. Jaroslav Heyrovský in 1959. The front side features the portrait of Alfred Nobel. The statue of a woman reminiscent of the goddess Isis occupies the reverse. She is appearing  from the clouds, holding the cornucopia in her right hand. The Genius of Science stands by her side lifting the veil from her face; Academy of Sciences (MÚA)

Švédský král Gustav Adolf VI. předává 10. prosince 1959 ve Stockholmu J. Heyrovskému Nobelovu cenu za objev a vývoj polarografické metody.
Swedish king Gustav Adolf VI hands the Nobel prize for the discovery and development of polarography to J. Heyrovský in Stockholm in December 10th 1959; Academy of Sciences (MÚA).
Diplom laureáta Nobelovy ceny
Diploma of the Nobel prize winner; Academy of Sciences (MÚA)
Telegram ze Stockholmu s oznámením o udělení Nobelovy ceny.
Cable from Stockholm announcing the award of the Nobel prize; Academy of Sciences (MÚA)
Jaroslav Heyrovský provádí výkop při fotbalovém zápase mezi Ústavem fyzikální chemie a Spektroskopickým ústavem UK, 1936; NTM
Jaroslav Heyrovský’s  kick-off of a football match between The Physical Chemistry Institute and The Spectroscopical Institute of the Charles University in 1936; NTM
Jaroslav Heyrovský (third from left) – boy football team from Prague borough of Letná; NTM
Jaroslav Heyrovský (třetí zleva) na vojně, K. u. K. Reserve-Spital, Tábor, 1915
Jaroslav Heyrovský (third from left) during his military service, in military hospital K.u.K Reserve-Spital, Tábor, 1915; NTM

App serves as a guide through the interactive exhibition.