Fritz Paneth

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Friedrich Adolf "Fritz" Paneth (born August 31, 1887 in Vienna ; † September 17, 1958 there ) was a German-Austrian chemist . He was the son of the physiologist Joseph Paneth .

life and work

After leaving school, he studied chemistry in Vienna and Munich from 1906 to 1910 . In 1913 he went to Frederick Soddy at the University of Glasgow . After completing his habilitation in Vienna, he became assistant to Otto Hönigschmid in Prague . He was then a professor in Hamburg , Berlin and Königsberg . After the National Socialists came to power, as a Jew (baptized as a Protestant), he had to give up his chair at the Königsberg Chemical Institute in 1933 and emigrate to London. In the same year he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . From 1939 to 1953 he was a professor at Durham University . Then he took over as director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (Otto Hahn Institute) in Mainz, succeeding Fritz Straßmann and set up a new department for cosmochemistry that dealt with meteorite research.

Paneth's main areas of work were radiochemistry , in particular the tracer method, which he developed together with George de Hevesy , and the cosmochemistry and gas microanalysis he founded. A detection method for organic radicals using metal mirrors goes back to him. In this method, tetramethyl lead is broken down into methyl residues and elemental lead in a quartz tube at elevated temperatures. The gaseous methyl residues are transported to another section of the chamber with a carrier gas. There they react with a metal mirror made of lead, which is gradually dissolved.

In 1953 he returned to Germany and took over the cosmochemistry department at the Max Planck Institute in Mainz. He was one of the authors of the declaration of the Göttingen eighteen nuclear scientists against the planned nuclear armament of the Bundeswehr and for the peaceful use of nuclear energy on April 12, 1957.


In 1957 he received the Liebig medal from the Society of German Chemists .

A moon crater is named in his honor . In 1963, Panethgasse in Vienna- Donaustadt (22nd district) was named after him.

A colloquium for young scientists also bears his name and takes place regularly in Nördlingen.

Major works

  • Radioactivity Textbook , 1923
  • Radio-Elements as Indicators and other Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry , 1928
  • The Origin of Meteorites , 1940
  • Georg V. Hevesy and Fritz Paneth: The solubility of lead sulfide and lead chromate . In: Journal of Inorganic Chemistry . 82: 323-328 (1913). doi : 10.1002 / zaac.19130820125
  • GV Hevesy and F. Paneth: On the representation of radium D in visible quantities and its chemical identity with lead . In: Ber. German Chem. Ges. 47 , 2784-2786 (1914). doi : 10.1002 / cber.19140470369
  • Fritz Paneth: About hydrogen bismuth and hydrogen polonium . In: Ber. German Chem. Ges. 51 , 1704-1728 (1918). doi : 10.1002 / cber.19180510257


  • Bernd Wöbke:  Paneth, Fritz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 20, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-00201-6 , pp. 28-30 ( digitized version ).
  • HJ Emeléus: Friedrich Adolf Paneth. 1887-1958 , in: Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 6, (Nov., 1960), pp. 227-246.
  • Klaus Ruthenberg: Paneth, Kant, and the philosophy of chemistry , in: Foundations of Chemistry 11, 79-91 (2009).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fritz Paneth, Wilhelm Hofeditz: About the representation of free methyl . In: Ber. German Chem. Ges. 62 , 1335-1347 (1929). doi : 10.1002 / cber.19290620537
  2. MPI Mainz .
  3. Text of the Göttingen Declaration 1957 at