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Who were Pierre and Marie Curie?

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Who were Pierre and Marie Curie?


Pierre Curie was born in Paris in 1859.  A physicist, he discovered piezoelectricity in 1880 with his brother Jacques and devised the first piezoelectric quartz, enabling faint electric currents to be measured.

Marie Sklodowska was born in Warsaw in 1867.  She was also a physicist.  They married in 1895 and together they worked on natural radioactivity, discovered in 1896 by another great physicist, Henri Becquerel, using uranium salts.  In 1898, they isolated two new elements that they called polonium and radium.  With their discovery of radioactivity and the study of its radiation, they shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerel.

After the death of Pierre in 1906, Marie Curie continued her work on radioactive elements and in 1911 she was once again selected by the illustrious jury, this time in chemistry, for determining the atomic weight of radium and for the study of its properties.

An exceptional woman, she became the first professor to hold the Chair of physics at the Sorbonne in 1906, the first women at the Académie de médecine in 1922 and, above all, to receive two Nobel awards.  She died in 1934.
On 20 April 1995, the ashes of Pierre and Marie Curie were ceremoniously transferred to the Panthéon in Paris.  Marie Sklodowska-Curie was the first woman to enter the Panthéon on her own merit.  Their fundamental discoveries were instrumental in altering the perception of and increasing the understanding of the structure of matter.



02/10/08