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, 71 (852), 1229-54

The Discovery of Radium in 1898 by Maria Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934) and Pierre Curie (1859-1906) With Commentary on Their Life and Times

The Discovery of Radium in 1898 by Maria Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934) and Pierre Curie (1859-1906) With Commentary on Their Life and Times

R F Mould. Br J Radiol.

Abstract

This review celebrates the events of 100 years ago to the month of publication of this December 1998 issue of the British Journal of Radiology, when radium was discovered by the Curies. This followed the earlier discovery in November 1895 of X-rays by Röntgen, which has already been reviewed in the British Journal of Radiology [1] and the discovery in March 1896, by Becquerel, of the phenomenon of radioactivity, which introduces this review. This is particularly relevant as Marie Curie was in 1897 a research student in Becquerel's laboratory. Marie Curie's life in Poland prior to her 1891 departure for Paris is included in this review as are other aspects of her life and work such as her work in World War I with radiological ambulances (known as "Little Curies") on the battlefields of France and Belgium, early experiments with radium and the founding of the Institut du Radium in Paris and of the Radium Institute in Warsaw. Wherever possible I have included appropriate quotations in Marie Curie's own words [2-4] and each section is related in some way to the life and work of Maria or Pierre. This review is completed with details of the re-interment of the bodies of Pierre and Marie on 20 April 1995 in The Panthéon, Paris.

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