MARIE CURIE (1867-1934) PIERRE CURIE (1859-1906)

1898-1902 – France

‘Pitchblende, the ore from which uranium is extracted, is much more radioactive than pure uranium. The ore must therefore contain unknown radioactive elements’

Photograph of marie_curie ©


Following the discovery of radioactivity by HENRI BECQUEREL in 1896, Marie Curie conclusively proved that radioactivity is an intrinsic property of the element in question and is not a condition caused by outside factors.

She correctly concluded that pitchblende contained other, more radioactive elements than uranium.

Photograph of pierre_curie ©


The Curies isolated two new radioactive elements, polonium and radium, from pitchblende. The discovery of new elements by their radioactivity was proof that radioactivity was a property of atoms.

Even today, Marie Curie’s notebooks of her studies remain too radioactive to handle.

picture of the Nobel medal - link to

picture of the Nobel medal - link to

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