Pierre Curie

Pierre Curie (/ˈkjʊəri/;[1] French: [kyʁi]; 15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity. In 1903, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, and Henri Becquerel, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel".[2]

Pierre Curie
Pierre Curie by Dujardin c1906
Pierre Curie, c. 1906
Born15 May 1859
Paris, France
Died19 April 1906 (aged 46)
Paris, France
Cause of deathFractured skull due to street accident
Alma materUniversity of Paris
Known forRadioactivity
Curie's law
Curie-Weiss law
Curie constant
Curie temperature
Discovery of piezoelectricity
Spouse(s)Marie Skłodowska-Curie (1867–1934; m. 1895)
ChildrenIrène Joliot-Curie
Ève Curie
AwardsDavy Medal (1903)
Nobel Prize in Physics[a] (1903)
Matteucci Medal (1904)
Elliott Cresson Medal (1909)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Chemistry
Doctoral advisorGabriel Lippmann
Doctoral studentsPaul Langevin
André-Louis Debierne
Marguerite Catherine Perey
Pierre Curie signature

Early life

Born in Paris on 15 May 1859, Pierre Curie was the son of Eugene Curie (28 August 1827 – 25 February 1910), a doctor of French Huguenot Protestant origin from Alsatia, and Sophie-Claire Depouilly Curie (15 January 1832 – 27 September 1897). He was educated by his father and in his early teens showed a strong aptitude for mathematics and geometry. When he was 16, he earned his math degree. By the age of 18, he had completed the equivalent of a higher degree, but did not proceed immediately to a doctorate due to lack of money. Instead he worked as a laboratory instructor.[3] When Pierre Curie was preparing for his bachelor of science degree, he worked in the laboratory of Jean-Gustave Bourbouze in the Faculty of Science.[4]

Pierre Curie et Marie Sklodowska Curie 1895
Pierre and Marie Skłodowska-Curie, 1895

In 1880 Pierre and his older brother Jacques (1856–1941) demonstrated that an electric potential was generated when crystals were compressed, i.e. piezoelectricity.[5] To aid this work they invented the piezoelectric quartz electrometer.[6] The following year they demonstrated the reverse effect: that crystals could be made to deform when subject to an electric field.[5] Almost all digital electronic circuits now rely on this in the form of crystal oscillators.[7] In subsequent work on magnetism Pierre Curie defined the Curie scale.[8] This work also involved delicate equipment - balances, electrometers, etc.[9]

Pierre Curie was introduced to Maria Skłodowska by their friend, physicist Józef Wierusz-Kowalski.[10] Curie took her into his laboratory as his student. His admiration for her grew when he realized that she would not inhibit his research. He began to regard Skłodowska as his muse.[11] She refused his initial proposal, but finally agreed to marry him on 26 July 1895.[3][12]

It would be a beautiful thing, a thing I dare not hope, if we could spend our life near each other, hypnotized by our dreams: your patriotic dream, our humanitarian dream, and our scientific dream. [Pierre Curie to Maria Skłodowska][3]:117

The Curies had a happy, affectionate marriage, and they were known for their devotion to each other.[13]


Propriétés magnétiques des corps à diverses temperatures
(Curie's dissertation, 1895)

Prior to his famous doctoral studies on magnetism, he designed and perfected an extremely sensitive torsion balance for measuring magnetic coefficients. Variations on this equipment were commonly used by future workers in that area. Pierre Curie studied ferromagnetism, paramagnetism, and diamagnetism for his doctoral thesis, and discovered the effect of temperature on paramagnetism which is now known as Curie's law. The material constant in Curie's law is known as the Curie constant. He also discovered that ferromagnetic substances exhibited a critical temperature transition, above which the substances lost their ferromagnetic behavior. This is now known as the Curie temperature. The Curie temperature is used to study plate tectonics, treat hypothermia, measure caffeine, and to understand extraterrestrial magnetic fields.[14]

Pierre Curie formulated what is now known as the Curie Dissymmetry Principle: a physical effect cannot have a dissymmetry absent from its efficient cause.[15][16] For example, a random mixture of sand in zero gravity has no dissymmetry (it is isotropic). Introduce a gravitational field, and there is a dissymmetry because of the direction of the field. Then the sand grains can 'self-sort' with the density increasing with depth. But this new arrangement, with the directional arrangement of sand grains, actually reflects the dissymmetry of the gravitational field that causes the separation.

Pierre and Marie Curie
Pierre and Marie Curie in their laboratory

Curie worked with his wife in isolating polonium and radium. They were the first to use the term "radioactivity", and were pioneers in its study. Their work, including Marie Curie's celebrated doctoral work, made use of a sensitive piezoelectric electrometer constructed by Pierre and his brother Jacques Curie.[17] Pierre Curie's 1898 publication with his wife Mme. Curie and also with M. G. Bémont[18] for their discovery of radium and polonium was honored by a Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Award from the Division of History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society presented to the ESPCI ParisTech (officially the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la Ville de Paris) in 2015.[19][20]

Curie and one of his students, Albert Laborde, made the first discovery of nuclear energy, by identifying the continuous emission of heat from radium particles.[21] Curie also investigated the radiation emissions of radioactive substances, and through the use of magnetic fields was able to show that some of the emissions were positively charged, some were negative and some were neutral. These correspond to alpha, beta and gamma radiation.[22]

The curie is a unit of radioactivity (3.7 × 1010 decays per second or 37 gigabecquerels) originally named in honor of Curie by the Radiology Congress in 1910, after his death. Subsequently, there has been some controversy over whether the naming was in honor of Pierre, Marie, or both.[23]


In the late nineteenth century, Pierre Curie was investigating the mysteries of ordinary magnetism when he became aware of the spiritualist experiments of other European scientists, such as Charles Richet and Camille Flammarion. Pierre Curie initially thought systematic investigation into the paranormal could help with some unanswered questions about magnetism.[24]:65 He wrote to his fiancée Marie: "I must admit that those spiritual phenomena intensely interest me. I think in them are questions that deal with physics."[24]:66 Pierre Curie's notebooks from this period show he read many books on spiritualism.[24]:68 He did not attend séances such as those of Eusapia Palladino in Paris in 1905–6[24]:238 as a mere spectator, and his goal certainly was not to communicate with spirits. He saw the séances as scientific experiments, tried to monitor different parameters, and took detailed notes of every observation.[24]:247 Despite studying spiritualism, Curie was an atheist.[25]


Pierre and Marie Curie's daughter, Irène, and their son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, were also physicists involved in the study of radioactivity, and each received Nobel prizes for their work as well.[26] The Curies' other daughter, Ève, wrote a noted biography of her mother.[27] She was the only member of the Curie family to not become a physicist. Ève married Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr., who received a Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Unicef in 1965.[28][29] Pierre and Marie Curie's granddaughter, Hélène Langevin-Joliot, is a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Paris, and their grandson, Pierre Joliot, who was named after Pierre Curie, is a noted biochemist.[30]


Panthéon Pierre et Marie Curie
Tombs of Marie (above) and Pierre Curie at Paris' Panthéon

Pierre Curie died in a street accident in Paris on 19 April 1906. Crossing the busy Rue Dauphine in the rain at the Quai de Conti, he slipped and fell under a heavy horse-drawn cart. He died instantly when one of the wheels ran over his head, fracturing his skull.[31] Statements made by his father and lab assistant imply that Curie's characteristic absent-minded preoccupation with his thoughts contributed to his death.[32]

Both the Curies experienced radium burns, both accidentally and voluntarily,[33] and were exposed to extensive doses of radiation while conducting their research. They experienced radiation sickness and Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia in 1934. Even now, all their papers from the 1890s, even her cookbooks, are too dangerous to touch. Their laboratory books are kept in special lead boxes and people who want to see them have to wear protective clothing.[34] Had Pierre Curie not been killed as he was, it is likely that he would have eventually died of the effects of radiation, as did his wife, their daughter, Irène, and her husband, Frédéric Joliot.[35][36]

In April 1995, Pierre and Marie Curie were moved from their original resting place, a family cemetery, and enshrined in the crypt of the Panthéon in Paris. Marie Curie was the first woman to be honored in this way "for her own merits".[37]


Nobel Pierre et Marie Curie 1
1903 Nobel Prize diploma


  1. ^ Awarded jointly to Pierre Curie and wife Marie Skłodowska-Curie


  1. ^ Jones, Daniel (2011). Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John (eds.). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15253-2.
  2. ^ a b "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903". NobelPrize.org. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Quinn, Susan (1996). Marie Curie : a life. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0201887945.
  4. ^ Marie Curie et les conquérants de l'atome : 1896-2006, par Jean-Pierre Poirier
  5. ^ a b "This Month in Physics History: March 1880: The Curie Brothers Discover Piezoelectricity". ACS News. March. 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  6. ^ Molinié, Philippe; Boudia, Soraya (May 2009). "Mastering picocoulombs in the 1890s: The Curies' quartz–electrometer instrumentation, and how it shaped early radioactivity history". Journal of Electrostatics. 67 (2–3): 524–530. doi:10.1016/j.elstat.2009.01.031. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  7. ^ Manbachi, A. and Cobbold R.S.C. (November 2011). "Development and Application of Piezoelectric Materials for Ultrasound Generation and Detection". Ultrasound. 19 (4): 187–196. doi:10.1258/ult.2011.011027. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012.
  8. ^ Kürti, N.; Simon, F. (1938). "LXXIII. Remarks on the "Curie" scale of temperature". The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. 26 (178): 849–854. doi:10.1080/14786443808562176.
  9. ^ Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1967.[1]
  10. ^ Redniss, Lauren (2011). Radioactive. New York, New York: HarperCollins. p. 26.
  11. ^ Redniss, Lauren (2011). Radioactive. New York, New York: HarperCollins. p. 33.
  12. ^ Estreicher, Tadeusz (1938). Curie, Maria ze Skłodowskich (in Polish) (vol. 4 ed.). In Polski słownik biograficzny. p. 111.
  13. ^ Goldsmith, Barbara (16 May 2011). Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie (Great Discoveries). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393079760.
  14. ^ Redniss, Lauren (2011). Radioactive. New York, New York: HarperCollins. p. 30.
  15. ^ Castellani, Elena; Ismael, Jenann (16 June 2016). "Which Curie's Principle?" (PDF). Philosophy of Science. doi:10.1086/687933. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  16. ^ Berova, Nina (2000). Circular dichroism : principles and applications. New York, NY: Wiley-VCH. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0471330035. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Marie and Pierre Curie and the Discovery of Polonium and Radium". Nobelprize.org. 2014.
  18. ^ P. Curie, Mme. P. Curie, and M. G. Bémont, Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, 1898 (26 December), vol. 127, pp. 1215-1217.
  19. ^ a b "2015 Awardees". American Chemical Society, Division of the History of Chemistry. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Chemical Sciences. 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Award" (PDF). American Chemical Society, Division of the History of Chemistry. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Chemical Sciences. 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  21. ^ Abbott, Steve; Jensen, Carsten; Aaserud, Finn; Kragh, Helge; Rudinger, Erik; Stuewer, Roger H. (July 2000). "Controversy and Consensus: Nuclear Beta Decay 1911-1934". The Mathematical Gazette. 84 (500): 382. doi:10.2307/3621743. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  22. ^ Lagowski, Joseph J. (1997). Macmillan encyclopedia of chemistry. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA. p. 1293. ISBN 0028972252.
  23. ^ Paul W. Frame. "How the Curie Came to Be". Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  24. ^ a b c d e Hurwic, Anna (1995). Pierre Curie, Translated by Lilananda Dasa and Joseph Cudnik. Paris: Flammarion. ISBN 9782082115629.
  25. ^ Warren Allen Smith (2000). Who's who in hell: a handbook and international directory for humanists, freethinkers, naturalists, rationalists, and non-theists. Barricade Books. p. 259. ISBN 9781569801581. Retrieved 4 February 2017. Curie, Pierre (1859—1906) A codiscoverer of radium, Pierre Curie was an atheist.
  26. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1935: Frédéric Joliot, Irène Joliot-Curie". Nobel Foundation. 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  27. ^ Curie, Eve (1937). Madame Curie. London: William Heinemann.
  28. ^ Fox, Margalit (25 October 2007). "Eve Curie Labouisse, Mother's Biographer, Dies at 102". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  29. ^ Smith, Warren Allen (2000). "Curie, Pierre (1859—1906)". Who's who in hell : handbook and international directory for humanists, freethinkers, rationalists, and non-theists. New York: Barricade Books. p. 259. ISBN 9781569801581.
  30. ^ "Hélène Langevin-Joliot: A Granny, More Than a Physicist". Peking University News. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Prof. Curie killed in a Paris street" (PDF), The New York Times, 20 April 1906
  32. ^ "Marie Curie - Tragedy and Adjustment (1906-1910)", Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity, 2000
  33. ^ Mould, R.F. (2007). "Pierre Curie, 1859–1906". Current Oncology. 14 (2): 74–82. doi:10.3747/co.2007.110. PMC 1891197. PMID 17576470.
  34. ^ Tasch, Barbara (31 August 2015). "These personal effects of 'the mother of modern physics' will be radioactive for another 1500 years". Business Insider. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  35. ^ Redniss, Lauren (2010). Radioactive : Marie And Pierre Curie : a tale of love and fallout (1st ed.). New York: HarperEntertainment. ISBN 978-0061351327.
  36. ^ Bartusiak, Marcia (11 November 2011). ""Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie — A Tale of Love and Fallout" by Lauren Redniss". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  37. ^ "Marie Curie Enshrined in Pantheon". The New York Times. 21 April 1995. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  38. ^ ""Matteucci" Medal". Accademia Nazionale delle Scienza. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.

External links

André-Louis Debierne

André-Louis Debierne (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃dʁe lwi dəbjɛʁn]; 14 July 1874 – 31 August 1949) was a French chemist and is considered the discoverer of the element actinium.

Debierne studied at the elite École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI ParisTech). He was a student of Charles Friedel, was a close friend of Pierre and Marie Curie and was associated with their work. In 1899, he discovered the radioactive element actinium, as a result of continuing the work with pitchblende that the Curies had initiated.

After the death of Pierre Curie in 1906, Debierne helped Marie Curie carry on and worked with her in teaching and research.

In 1910, he and Marie Curie prepared radium in metallic form in visible amounts. They did not keep it metallic, however. Having demonstrated the metal's existence as a matter of scientific curiosity, they reconverted it into compounds with which they might continue their researches.


The curie (symbol Ci) is a non-SI unit of radioactivity originally defined in 1910. According to a notice in Nature at the time, it was named in honour of Pierre Curie, but was considered at least by some to be in honour of Marie Curie as well.It was originally defined as "the quantity or mass of radium emanation in equilibrium with one gram of radium (element)" but is currently defined as 1 Ci = 3.7×1010 decays per second after more accurate measurements of the activity of 226Ra (which has a specific activity of 3.66×1010 Bq/g).

In 1975 the General Conference on Weights and Measures gave the becquerel (Bq), defined as one nuclear decay per second, official status as the SI unit of activity.


1 Ci = 3.7×1010 Bq = 37 GBqand

1 Bq ≅ 2.703×10−11 Ci ≅ 27 pCiWhile its continued use is discouraged by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other bodies, the curie is still widely used throughout the government, industry and medicine in the United States and in other countries.

At the 1910 meeting which originally defined the curie, it was proposed to make it equivalent to 10 nanograms of radium (a practical amount). But Marie Curie, after initially accepting this, changed her mind and insisted on one gram of radium. According to Bertram Boltwood, Marie Curie thought that 'the use of the name "curie" for so infinitesimally small [a] quantity of anything was altogether inappropriate.'The power in milliwatts emitted by one curie of radiation can be calculated by taking the number of MeV for the radiation times approximately 5.93.

A radiotherapy machine may have roughly 1000 Ci of a radioisotope such as caesium-137 or cobalt-60. This quantity of radioactivity can produce serious health effects with only a few minutes of close-range, unshielded exposure.

Ingesting even a millicurie is usually fatal (unless it is a very short-lived isotope). For example, the LD-50 for ingested polonium-210 is 240 μCi, about 53.5 nanograms.

The typical human body contains roughly 0.1 μCi (14 mg) of naturally occurring potassium-40. A human body containing 16 kg of carbon (see Composition of the human body) would also have about 24 nanograms or 0.1 μCi of carbon-14. Together, these would result in a total of approximately 0.2 μCi or 7400 decays per second inside the person's body (mostly from beta decay but some from gamma decay).

Curie's law

In a paramagnetic material, the magnetization of the material is (approximately) directly proportional to an applied magnetic field. However, if the material is heated, this proportionality is reduced: for a fixed value of the field, the magnetization is (approximately) inversely proportional to temperature. This fact is encapsulated by Curie's law, after Pierre Curie:


is the resulting magnetization in amperes/meter (A/M),
is the magnetic field density, measured in teslas (T),
is absolute temperature, measured in kelvins (K),
is a material-specific Curie constant (K).

This relation was discovered experimentally (by fitting the results to a correctly guessed model) by Pierre Curie. It only holds for high temperatures, or weak magnetic fields. As the derivations below show, the magnetization saturates in the opposite limit of low temperatures, or strong fields.

Curie (Martian crater)

Curie Crater is an impact crater in the Oxia Palus quadrangle of Mars, located at 29.1° N and 4.8° W. It is 114.1 km in diameter and was named after Pierre Curie, a French physicist-chemist (1859-1906).Impact craters generally have a rim with ejecta around them, in contrast volcanic craters usually do not have a rim or ejecta deposits. As craters get larger (greater than 10 km in diameter) they usually have a central peak. The peak is caused by a rebound of the crater floor following the impact.

Curie (disambiguation)

A Curie (Ci) is a unit of radioactivity, named after the Curie family.Curie may also refer to:

Curie Family, a family of distinguished scientists:Jacques Curie (1856–1941), French physicist, Pierre's brother

Pierre Curie (1859–1906), French physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Marie's husband

Marie Curie (1867–1934), Polish-French chemist and physicist, two-time Nobel Prize winner

Irène Joliot-Curie (1897–1956), French physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Marie and Pierre's daughter

Frédéric Joliot-Curie (1900–1958), French physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Irène's husband

Ève Curie (1904–2007), French-American writer and journalist, Marie and Pierre's second daughter

Curie Island

Curie Island is a small rocky island near the eastern end of the Géologie Archipelago, lying 2 kilometres (1 nmi) southwest of Derby Island, close north of Astrolabe Glacier Tongue. It was photographed from the air by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47. It was charted by the French Antarctic Expedition, 1949–51, and named by them for the noted French family of physicists and chemists: Pierre Curie and Marie Curie.


Curite is a lead uranium oxide mineral with formula: Pb3(UO2)8O8(OH)6·3(H2O). It is named after the physicists Marie and Pierre Curie, who are both known for their work on radioactivity. The type locality is the Shinkolobwe Mine.

Henri Becquerel

Antoine Henri Becquerel (; French: [ɑ̃ʁi bɛkʁɛl]; 15 December 1852 – 25 August 1908) was a French engineer, physicist, Nobel laureate, and the first person to discover evidence of radioactivity. For work in this field he, along with Marie Skłodowska-Curie (Marie Curie) and Pierre Curie, received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. The SI unit for radioactivity, the becquerel (Bq), is named after him.

Irène Joliot-Curie

Irène Joliot-Curie (French: [iʁɛn ʒoljokyʁi] (listen); 12 September 1897 – 17 March 1956) was a French scientist, the daughter of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie and the wife of Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Jointly with her husband, Joliot-Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. This made the Curies the family with the most Nobel laureates to date. Both children of the Joliot-Curies, Hélène and Pierre, are also esteemed scientists.

List of female Nobel laureates

As of 2018, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 853 men, 51 women (Marie Curie won it twice), and 24 unique organizations.The distribution of female Nobel Laureates is as follows:

seventeen women have won the Nobel Peace Prize,

fourteen have won the Nobel Prize in Literature,

twelve have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine,

five have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry,

three have won the Nobel Prize in Physics,

and one, Elinor Ostrom, has won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.The first woman to win a Nobel Prize was Marie Curie, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel. Curie is also the only woman to have won multiple Nobel Prizes; in 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Curie's daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, making the two the only mother-daughter pair to have won Nobel Prizes.The most Nobel Prizes awarded to women in a single year was in 2009, when five women became laureates in four categories.

The most recent women to be awarded a Nobel Prize were Donna Strickland in Physics, Frances Arnold in Chemistry, and Nadia Murad for Peace (2018).

Lycée français Charles Lepierre

Lycée français Charles Lepierre is an international school in Lisbon, Portugal. The medium of instruction is French. About 63% of the students are French or French-Portuguese, while about 10% are of other nationalities.

In 1907, a French-medium school was opened on Rua da Emenda by the Société de l’École Française de Lisbonne.

In 1917 the school moved to Pátio do Tijolo in the Braancamp Palace near Largo do Rato, purchased that year by the Société de l’École Française de Lisbonne. In 1952, the school moved to its current location.

The school is named after professor Charles Lepierre (1867-1945), a chemical engineer who graduated from the École de Physique et Chimie Industrielle de Paris, who was a student of Pierre Curie and who moved to Portugal in 1888.

The school belongs to the system of schools managed by the Agence pour l’Enseignement du Français à l’Étranger (AEFE) under the French foreign ministry. The school follows the official instructions of France's Ministry of National Education.

Madame Curie (film)

Madame Curie is a 1943 biographical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sidney Franklin from a screenplay by Paul Osborn, Paul H. Rameau, and Aldous Huxley (uncredited), adapted from the biography by Ève Curie. It stars Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, with supporting performances by Robert Walker, Henry Travers, and Albert Bassermann.

The film tells the story of Polish-French physicist Marie Curie in 1890s Paris as she begins to share a laboratory with her future husband, Pierre Curie.

This was the fourth of nine onscreen pairings between Pidgeon and Garson.In several versions, much of the scientific aspects of the film were cut down or edited out entirely. Turner Classic Movies has shown it unedited at 124 minutes.

Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie (; French: [kyʁi]; Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

She was born in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. She studied at Warsaw's clandestine Flying University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies into the treatment of neoplasms were conducted using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie, who used both surnames, never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element she discovered polonium, after her native country.Marie Curie died in 1934, aged 66, at a sanatorium in Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, of aplastic anemia from exposure to radiation in the course of her scientific research and in the course of her radiological work at field hospitals during World War I.

Matteucci Medal

The Matteucci Medal is an Italian award for physicists, named after Carlo Matteucci. It was established to award physicists for their fundamental contributions. Under an Italian Royal Decree dated July 10, 1870, the Italian Society of Sciences was authorized to receive a donation from Carlo Matteucci for the establishment of the Prize.

Matteucci MedalistsSource: Italian Society of Sciences

Paul-Jacques Curie

Paul-Jacques Curie (29 October 1855 – 19 February 1941) was a French physicist and professor of mineralogy at the University of Montpellier. Along with his younger brother, Pierre Curie, he studied pyroelectricity in the 1880s, leading to their discovery of some of the mechanisms behind piezoelectricity.He is buried in the Saint-Lazare cemetery in Montpellier.

Paul Langevin

Paul Langevin (; French: [pɔl lɑ̃ʒvɛ̃]; 23 January 1872 – 19 December 1946) was a French physicist who developed Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation. He was one of the founders of the Comité de vigilance des intellectuels antifascistes, an antifascist organization created in the wake of the 6 February 1934 far right riots. Langevin was also president of the Human Rights League (LDH) from 1944 to 1946 – he had just recently joined the French Communist Party. Being a public opponent against fascism in the 1930s resulted in his arrest and consequently he was held under house arrest by the Vichy government for most of the war.

Previously a doctoral student of Pierre Curie and later a lover of Marie Curie, he is also famous for his two US patents with Constantin Chilowsky in 1916 and 1917 involving ultrasonic submarine detection. He is entombed at the Panthéon.

Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris Métro)

Pierre et Marie Curie is a station on the southeast branch of Line 7 of the Paris Métro. The station, located in Ivry-sur-Seine, was opened in 1946.

It was previously known as Pierre Curie. Following a renovation completed on 31 January 2007, it was renamed to honour his wife and fellow Nobel laureate Maria Skłodowska-Curie as well on 8 March, International Women's Day. It thereby became only the third station in the Métro named for a woman that is not a saint, after Marguerite de Rochechouart and Louise Michel.


Radium is a chemical element with symbol Ra and atomic number 88. It is the sixth element in group 2 of the periodic table, also known as the alkaline earth metals. Pure radium is silvery-white, but it readily reacts with nitrogen (rather than oxygen) on exposure to air, forming a black surface layer of radium nitride (Ra3N2). All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226, which has a half-life of 1600 years and decays into radon gas (specifically the isotope radon-222). When radium decays, ionizing radiation is a product, which can excite fluorescent chemicals and cause radioluminescence.

Radium, in the form of radium chloride, was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. They extracted the radium compound from uraninite and published the discovery at the French Academy of Sciences five days later. Radium was isolated in its metallic state by Marie Curie and André-Louis Debierne through the electrolysis of radium chloride in 1911.In nature, radium is found in uranium and (to a lesser extent) thorium ores in trace amounts as small as a seventh of a gram per ton of uraninite. Radium is not necessary for living organisms, and adverse health effects are likely when it is incorporated into biochemical processes because of its radioactivity and chemical reactivity. Currently, other than its use in nuclear medicine, radium has no commercial applications; formerly, it was used as a radioactive source for radioluminescent devices and also in radioactive quackery for its supposed curative powers. Today, these former applications are no longer in vogue because radium's toxicity has since become known, and less dangerous isotopes are used instead in radioluminescent devices.

Rue Dauphine

Rue Dauphine is a street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France.

It was named after the Dauphin, son of Henry IV of France.

The Pont Neuf crosses the river Seine in front of the Rue Dauphine.

Nobel prize–winning physicist Pierre Curie, husband of Marie Skłodowska-Curie, was struck and killed by a horse-drawn carriage on this street in 1906.

Scientists whose names are used as units
SI base units
SI derived units
Non-SI metric (cgs) units
Imperial and US customary units
Non-systematic units

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