On leaving Canada, Soddy worked with Sir William Ramsay at University College, London where he continued the study of radium emanation. Here, Soddy and Ramsay were able to demonstrate, by spectroscopic means, that the element helium was produced in the radioactive decay of a sample of radium bromide and that helium was evolved in the decay of emanation.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1921

"for his contributions to our knowledge of the chemistry of radioactive substances, and his investigations into the origin and nature of isotopes".

From 1904 to 1914 Soddy was lecturer in physical chemistry and radioactivity in the University of Glasgow. Here he did much practical chemical work on radioactive materials and evolved the "Displacement Law", namely that emission of an alpha-particle from an element causes that element to move back two places in the Periodic Table. In 1913 he formulated the concept of isotopes, which stated that certain elements exist in two or more forms which have different atomic weights but which are indistinguishable chemically.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of isotopes in 1921.