chemist. In 1924 he constructed the first ultracentrifuge, a machine that
allowed the rapid separation of particles by mass. This can reveal the presence
of contaminants in a sample of a new protein, or distinguish between various
long-chain polymers. Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1926.
Svedberg was born near Gävle, studied at Uppsala and spent his career there, as professor 1912-49 and head of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry 1949-67.
Svedberg prepared a number of new organosols from more than 30 metals. Through an ultramicroscope, he studied the particles in these sols and confirmed Albert Einstein's theories about Brownian movement.
Svedberg discovered that thorium-X crystallizes with lead and barium salts (but not with others), anticipating English chemist Frederick Soddy's demonstration of the existence of isotopes.
Svedberg also investigated, about 1923, the chemistry involved in the formation of latent images in photographic emulsions.
Working on synthetic polymers, Svedberg introduced electron microscopy to study natural and regenerated cellulose, X-ray diffraction techniques to investigate cellulose fibres, and electron diffraction to analyse colloidal micelles and crystallites.