Marie Curie

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Scientific Biographies
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Marie Curie

Marie CurieBy: Cindy McNair

In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays, though the mechanics behind their production was not understood. In 1896, Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium salts showed rays that looked like X-rays in their powerful power. He showed that this radiation, unlike luminescence (a natural chemical that glows), it didn't depend on an outside source of energy but seemed to arise (go up or rise) spontaneously from uranium itself. Influenced by these two important discoveries, Marie decided to look into uranium rays as a possible field of research for a theory. She used an advanced technique to investigate samples. Fifteen years earlier, her husband and his brother had made a version of the electrometer (a meter that measures electricity). Using Pierre's electrometer, she discovered that uranium rays caused the air around a sample to conduct electricity. Using this technique, her first result was the finding that the activity of the uranium compounds depended only on the quantity of uranium present.She hypothesized that the radiation was not the outcome of some interaction of molecules but must come from the atom itself. This hypothesis was an important step in disproving the ancient assumption that atoms were indivisible.

What she found?

Marie's Past

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, in Poland Nov 7th 1867. She had 5 sibblings and she was the youngest out of all of them. Maria's older siblings were Zofia (born 1862), Józef (1863), Bronisława (1865) and Helena (1866). Her family lost their property and fortunes through patriotic involvements in Polish national uprisings aimed at restoring Poland's independence (politics stuff)

How she died?

Curie visited Poland for the last time in early 1934. A few months later, on 4 July 1934, she died at the Sancellemoz Sanatorium in Passy.The damaging effects of ionising radiation were not known at the time of her work, which had been carried out without the safety measures later developed.She had carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket, and she stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the faint light that the substances gave off in the dark.

In December 1903, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Pierre Curie, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics At first, the Committee intended to honour only Pierre and Becquerel, but one of the committee members and an advocate of woman scientists, Swedish mathematician Magnus Goesta Mittag-Leffler, alerted Pierre to the situation, and after his complaint, Marie's name was added to the nomination.Marie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize.

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