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Anyone who thinks renewables are able to supply our energy needs knows nearly nothing about the

externalised costs of renewables, their massive inefficiencies, how expensive they are or how they affect the environment in other ways. Nuclear power is our ONLY viable, clean and SAFE source of power generation. Other power generation techniques have led to HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of more deaths than nuclear power has. Coal burning releases more radioactive uranium and barium than all the world's nuclear plants EVER have. Hydroelectric is so bad it's not even worth mentioning it. Solar power produces 0,8 kW per square metre and uses massive amounts of rare earth metals (the worst kind in terms of mining)...Wind power is expensive (but quite pleasing to the eye), intermittent and heavily subsidised...People are just afraid of technology they don't understand and clever opportunists in the renewables market are exploiting our fears. Germany is shooting itself in the foot. Their decision is going to have huge financial implications for them. We need MORE nuclear power and we need MORE accountability for firms that run them badly. The technology is not to blame, cutting corners is. But even so there is a much greater risk we face if we eradicate nuclear than there is if we build more.!

Nuclear power in France

Electricity production in France has been dominated by Nuclear power ever since the early 80s with a large portion of that power exported today. thermofossil hydroelectric nuclear Other renewables

Nuclear power is the primary source of electric power in France. In 2004, 425.8 TWh out of the country's total production of 540.6 TWh of electricity was from nuclear power (78.8%), the highest percentage in the world France is also the world's largest net exporter of electric power, exporting 18% of its total production (about 100 TWh) to Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, and Germany, and its electricity cost is among the lowest in Europe.[1][2] France's nuclear power industry has been called "a success story" that has put the nation "ahead of the world" in terms of providing cheap,

CO2-free energy. However, France's nuclear reactors are mainly used in load-following mode and some reactors close on weekends because there is no market for the electricity.This means that the capacity factor is low by world standards, which is not an ideal economic situation for nuclear plants. As of 2002, lectricit de France (EDF) the country's main electricity generation and distribution company manages the country's 59 nuclear power plants. As of 2008, these plants produce 90% of EDF's and about 78% France's electrical power production (of which some is exported), making EDF the world leader in production of nuclear power by percentage. In 2006, the French Government asked Areva and EDF to build a next generation nuclear reactor, the EPR (European Pressurized Reactor), at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant. This was followed in 2008 by a Presidential announcement of another new EPR, spurred by high oil and gas prices. The second French EPR reactor will be built in Penly. Construction work should start in 2012 and completion is scheduled for 2017. Following the 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents, in a letter dated March 23, Prime Minister Francois Fillon asked the Nuclear Safety Authority to carry out an 'open and transparent' audit each of its nuclear installations, looking at the risks of flood, earthquake, loss of power and cooling, and accident management processes, in order to identify any improvements that should be made in the light of lessons learned from Fukushima. The initial conclusions are expected by the end of 2011. France conducted a more limited review following flooding at its Blayais Nuclear Power Plant in 1999.


1 History o 1.1 Messmer Plan o 1.2 Recent developments 2 Technical overview o 2.1 900 MWe class (CP0, CP1 and CP2 designs) o 2.2 1300 MWe class (P4 and P'4 designs) o 2.3 1450 MWe class (N4 design) o 2.4 1750MWe class (EPR design) o 2.5 Fusion reactors o 2.6 Cooling o 2.7 Fuel cycle 3 Accidents and incidents 4 Limitations 5 Seismicity o 5.1 Hazard evaluation 6 Public opinion o 6.1 Anti-nuclear movement 7 Environmental impact 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

France has a long relationship with nuclear power, starting with Henri Becquerel's discovery of natural radioactivity in the 1890s and continued by famous nuclear scientists like Pierre and Marie Curie. Before World War II, France had been heavily involved in nuclear research through the work of the Joliot-Curies. In 1945 the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF) created the Commissariat l'nergie Atomique (CEA) governmental agency, and Nobel prize winner Frdric Joliot-Curie, member of the French Communist Party (PCF) since 1942, was appointed high-commissioner. He was relieved of his duties in 1950 for political reasons, and would be one of the 11 signatories to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto in 1955. The CEA was created by Charles de Gaulle on October 18, 1945. Its mandate is to conduct fundamental and applied research into many areas, including the design of nuclear reactors, the manufacturing of integrated circuits, the use of radionucleides for medical treatments, seismology and tsunami propagation, and the safety of computerized systems. Nuclear research was discontinued for a time after the war because of the instability of the Fourth Republic and the lack of finances available. However, in the 1950s a civil nuclear research program was started, a by-product of which would be plutonium. In 1956 a secret Committee for the Military Applications of Atomic Energy was formed and a development program for delivery vehicles started. In 1957, soon after the Suez Crisis and the diplomatic tension with both the USSR and the United States, French president Ren Coty decided the creation of the C.S.E.M. in the then French Sahara, a new nuclear tests facility replacing the C.I.E.E.S. See France and nuclear weapons. The first nuclear power plant in France was opened in 1963.

Messmer Plan
As a direct result of the 1973 oil crisis, on March 6, 1974 Prime Minister Pierre Messmer unexpectedly announced what became known as the 'Messmer Plan', a huge nuclear power program aimed at generating all of France's electricity from nuclear power. At the time of the oil crisis most of France's electricity came from foreign oil, and while it was strong in heavy engineering capabilities, France had few indigenous energy resources, The announcement of the Messmer Plan, which was imposed without public or parliamentary debate, also led to the foundation of the Groupement des scientifiques pour l'information sur l'nergie nuclaire (Association of Scientists for Information on Nuclear Energy), formed after around 4,000 scientists signed a petition of concern over the government's action, known as the Appeal of the 400 after the 400 scientists who initially signed it. The plan envisaged the construction of around 80 nuclear plants by 1985 and a total of 170 plants by 2000. Work on the first three plants, at Tricastin, Gravelines, and Dampierre started the same year and France installed 56 reactors over the next 15 years.

Recent developments
In 2001, Areva, was created by the merger of CEA Industrie, Framatome and Cogema (now Areva NC). Its main shareholder is the French owned company CEA, but the German government also holds, through Siemens, 34% of the shares of Areva's subsidiary, Areva NP, in charge of building the EPR (third-generation nuclear reactor).

Technical overview
Drawing such a large percentage of overall electrical production from nuclear power is unique to France. This reliance has resulted in certain necessary deviations from the standard design and function of other nuclear power programs. For instance, in order to meet changing demand throughout the day, some plants must work as peaking power plant, whereas most nuclear plants in the world operate as base load plants, and allow other fossil or hydro units to adjust to demand. Nuclear power in France has a total capacity factor of around 77%, which is low due to load following. However availability is around 84%, indicating excellent overall performance of the plants. The first 8 power reactors in the nation were gas cooled reactor types (UNGG reactor), whose development was pioneered by CEA. Coinciding with a uranium enrichment program, EdF developed pressurized water reactor (PWR) technology which eventually became the dominant type. The gas-cooled reactors located at Brennilis, Bugey, Chinon, and Marcoule have all been shut down. All operating plants today are PWRs with the exception of the Phnix, which was part of an initiative to develop sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor technology. The Superphnix, a larger, more ambitious version, has been shut down. The PWR plants were all developed by Framatome (which is now Areva) from the initial Westinghouse design[citation needed]. All of the PWR plants are one of three variations of the design, having output powers of 900 MWe, 1300 MWe, and 1450 MWe. The repeated use of these standard variants of a design has afforded France the greatest degree of nuclear plant standardization in the world.

900 MWe class (CP0, CP1 and CP2 designs)

The Saint-Laurent site, showing two CP2, 900MWe class reactors and the cooling tower on the right

There are a total of 34 of these reactors in operation; most were constructed in the 1970s and the early 1980s. In 2002 they had a uniform review and all were granted a 10 year life extension. With the CP0 and CP1 designs, two reactors share the same machine and command room. With the CP2 design, each reactor has its own machine and command room. Despite this difference, CP1 and CP2 types use the same technologies (the two types are frequently referred as CPY). Compared to CP0 they have an additional cooling circuit between the emergency system that allows to spraying water into the containment in case of an accident and the circuit which contains river's water, a more flexible control system and some minor difference in the layout of the building. This three loop design (three steam generators and three primary circulation pumps) was also exported to a number of other countries, including:

South Africa - 2 units at the Koeberg nuclear power station South Korea - 2 units at the Ulchin Nuclear Power Plant Peoples' Republic of China, where it has been developed into the 1000 MWe CPR-1000 design: o 2 units at the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant o 2 units at the Ling Ao Nuclear Power Plant o 2 CPR-1000 at the Ling Ao Nuclear Power Plant (2 units under construction) [17] o 13 other CPR-1000 under construction at various locations

1300 MWe class (P4 and P'4 designs)

The Cattenom site houses four 1300 MWe class reactors

There are 20 reactors of this design (four steam generators and four primary circulation pumps) operating in France. The P4 and P'4 type have some minor difference in the layout of the building, especially for the structure which contain the fuel rods and the circuitry.

1450 MWe class (N4 design)

The Civaux site houses two 1450 MWe class reactors, the most recent design operating today

There are only 4 of these reactors, housed at two separate sites: Civaux and Chooz. Construction of these reactors started between 1984 and 1991, but full commercial operation did not begin until between 2000 and 2002 because of thermal fatigue flaws in the heat removal system requiring the redesign and replacement of parts in each N4 power station. In 2003 the stations were all uprated to 1500 MWe. It is unlikely that more of this class will be built because it is expected to be succeeded by the larger 1650 MWe EPR design.

1750MWe class (EPR design)

The next generation design for French reactors will be the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), which will have a broader scope than France alone, with a pilot plant in Finland undergoing construction and with marketing activities extending to the United States and China. The first French EPR is under construction at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant, and should be operational in 2014. The second French EPR reactor will be built at the Penly Nuclear Power Plant, with construction starting in 2012 and completion scheduled for 2017. This reactor is one of the newest reactor designs in the world. It was developed by Areva contributing its N4 reactor technology and the German company Siemens contributing its Konvoi reactor technology. In keeping with the French approach of highly standardized plants and proven technology, it uses more traditional active safety systems and is more similar to current plant designs than international competitors such as the AP1000 or the ESBWR. In 2005 EdF announced plans to replace the current nuclear plants with new 1600 MWe units as they reach the end of their licensed life, starting around 2020.[citation needed] This decision confirms that France is planning to continue indefinitely using nuclear power as its primary electricity source. In order to replace the current 58 reactors, one new large unit will have to be built about every year for about 40 years.

Fusion reactors
While fusion power is not expected to be feasible for many more decades, France has shown promise to be a forerunner in the technology by winning the bid to host the ITER reactor in Cadarache. The ITER should start actual fusion around 2018. However, ITER does not plan to generate any commercially available energy. Instead the construction of another plant, named DEMO, will test the feasibility of commercial Fusion, before they are added to the energy supply.

The majority of nuclear plants in France are located away from the coasts and obtain their cooling water from rivers. These plants employ cooling towers to reduce their impact on the environment. The temperature of emitted water carrying the waste heat is strictly limited by the French government, and this has proved to be problematic during recent heat waves. 4 plants, equalling 14 reactors are located on the coast:

Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant Penly Nuclear Power Plant Paluel Nuclear Power Plant Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant

These 4 get their cooling water directly from the ocean and can thus dump their waste heat directly back into the sea, which is slightly more economical.

Fuel cycle

Active work going on for the ultimate underground repository.

France is one of the few countries in the world with an active nuclear reprocessing program, with the COGEMA La Hague site. Enrichment work, some MOX fuel fabrication, and other activities take place at the Tricastin Nuclear Power Centre. Enrichment is completely domestic and is powered by 2/3 of the output of the nuclear plant at Tricastin. Reprocessing of fuel from other countries has been done for the United States and Japan, who have expressed the desire to develop a more closed fuel cycle similar to what France has achieved. MOX fuel fabrication services have also been sold to other countries, notably to the USA for the Megatons to Megawatts Program, using Plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons. While France does not mine Uranium for the front end of the fuel cycle domestically, French companies have various holdings in the Uranium market. Uranium for the French program totals 10,500 tonnes per year coming from various locations such as:

Canada - 4500 tU/yr Niger - 3200 tU/yr

Final disposal of the high level nuclear waste is planned to be done at the Meuse/Haute Marne Underground Research Laboratory deep geological repository.

Accidents and incidents

Main article: Nuclear accidents by country See also: Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents Nuclear power accidents in France Cost (in millions




2006 US$) 50 kg of Uranium in one of the reactors at the Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant began to melt, an event classified at 'level 4' on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). As of March 2011, this remains the most serious civil nuclear power accident in France.

Saint17 October Laurent, 1969 France

25 July 1979 13 March 1980 14 April 1984 22 May 1986 12 April 1987 27 December 1999

Saclay, France

Radioactive fluids escape into drains designed for ordinary wastes, 5 seeping into the local watershed at the Saclay BL3 Reactor

A malfunctioning cooling system fuses fuel elements together at Loir-et-Cher, the Saint Laurent A2 reactor, ruining the fuel assembly and forcing 22 France an extended shutdown Bugey, France Normandy, France Tricastin, France Electrical cables fail at the command centre of the Bugey Nuclear Power Plant and force a complete shutdown of one reactor 2

A reprocessing plant at La Hague malfunctions and exposes workers 5 to unsafe levels of radiation and forces five to be hospitalised Tricastin fast breeder reactor leaks coolant, sodium and uranium hexachloride, injuring seven workers and contaminating water supplies An unexpectedly strong storm floods the Blayais Nuclear Power Plant, forcing an emergency shutdown after injection pumps and containment safety systems fail from water damage


Blayais, France


21 January Manche, 2002 France 16 May 2005 13 July 2008 12 August 2009 Lorraine, France Tricastin, France Gravelines, France

Control systems and safety valves fail after improper installation of 102 condensers, forcing a two-month shutdown Sub-standard electrical cables at the Cattenom-2 nuclear reactor cause a fire in an electricity tunnel, damaging safety systems 75 kg of natural uranium, in thousands of litres of solution, accidentally spilled on the ground and run off into a nearby river Assembly system fails to properly eject spent fuel rods from the Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant, causing the fuel rods to jam and the reactor to shut down 12

In July 2008, 18,000 litres (4,755 gallons) of uranium solution containing natural uranium were accidentally released from Tricastin Nuclear Power Centre. Due to cleaning and repair work the containment system for a uranium solution holding tank was not functional when the tank filled. The inflow exceeded the tank's capacity and 30 cubic metres of uranium solution leaked, with 18 cubic metres spilled on the ground. Testing found elevated uranium levels in the nearby Gaffire and Lauzon rivers. The liquid that escaped to the ground contained about 75 kg of natural uranium, which is toxic as a heavy metal, but only slightly radioactive. Estimates for the releases were initially higher, up to 360 kg of natural uranium, but revised downward later.French authorities banned the use of water from the Gaffire and Lauzon for drinking and watering of crops for 2 weeks. Swimming, water sports and fishing were also banned. This incident has been classified as Level 1 (anomaly) on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Shortly after the first incident, approximately 100 employees were exposed to minor doses of radiation (1/40 of the annual limit) due to a piping failure.

France's nuclear reactors comprise 90 per cent of EDFs capacity and so they are used in loadfollowing mode and some reactors close at weekends because there is no market for the electricity. This means that the capacity factor is low by world standards, usually in the high seventies as a percentage. This is not an ideal economic situation for nuclear plants, but is required due to the load-following nature of some reactors. During periods of high demand EDF has been routinely "forced into the relatively expensive spot and short-term power markets because it lacks adequate peak load generating capacity". All but four of EDFs plants are inland and require fresh water for cooling. Eleven of these 15 inland plants have cooling towers, using evaporative cooling, while the others use lake or river water directly. So in very hot summers, generation output may be restricted. It is sometimes said that nuclear power in France has reduced the country's dependence on oil for electricity generation. While this is true for the electricity generation sector, about 70 per cent of the total energy consumed in France during 2006 was still from fossil fuels. It has also been suggested that France has over-invested in nuclear, which has meant that electricity has been exported to other countries or "dumped" on the French market, encouraging the use of electricity for space heating and water heating. This can be regarded as an environmentally wasteful practice. On the other hand, this practice reduces the need to use natural gas or other fossil fuels for space and water heating.


The location of the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant in the Rhine Rift Valley near the fault that caused the 1356 Basel earthquake is causing concern.

Following the 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents there has been an increased focus on the risks associated with seismic activity in France, with particular attention focused on the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant. General seismic risk in France is categorised on a five-point scale, with zone 1 being very low risk, through to zone 5 in areas with a 'very strong' risk. In Metropolitan France the areas of highest risk are rated at 4, 'strong', and are located in the Pyrenees, Alps, the south of the HautRhin dpartement, the Territoire de Belfort and a few communes in Doubs. A new zoning map comes into force on May 1, 2011, which significantly increases the rating for many areas. The major nuclear research facilities at Cadarache are located in a zone 4 area near the fault that caused the 1909 Lambesc earthquake, while the Marcoule research centre and the nuclear power plants at Tricastin, Cruas, Saint-Alban, Bugey and Fessenheim (near the fault that caused the 1356 Basel earthquake) are all within zone 3. A further 6 plants lie within zone 2.

Hazard evaluation
The current process for evaluating the seismic hazard for a nuclear plant is set out in Rgle Fondamentale de Sret (Fundamental Safety Rule) RFS 2001-01, published by the Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, which uses more detailed seismotectonic zones. RFS 200101 replaced RFS I.2.c, published in 1981, however it has been criticised for continuing to require a deterministic assessment (rather than a probabilistic approach) that relies primarily on the

strongest 'historically known' earthquake near a site. This leads to a number of problems including the short period (in geological timescales) for which there are records, the difficulty of assessing the characteristics of earthquakes that occurred prior to the use of seismometers, the difficulty of identifying the existence of all earthquakes that pre-date the historic record, and ultimately the reliance on one single earthquake scenario. Other criticisms include the use of intensity in the evaluation method, rather than spectral acceleration, which is commonly used elsewhere.

Public opinion

Protest against new French nuclear plants (March 2007)

Following the 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents an OpinionWay poll at the end of March found that 57% of the French population were opposed to nuclear energy in France. A TNSSofres poll in the days following the accident found 55% in favour of nuclear power. In 2006 BBC / GlobeScan poll found 57% of the French opposed to nuclear energy. In May 2001, an Ipsos poll found that nearly 70% of the population had a 'good opinion' of nuclear power, however 56% also preferred not to live near a nuclear plant and the same proportion thought that a 'Chernobyl-like accident' could occur in France. The same Ipsos poll revealed that 50% thought that nuclear power was the best way of solving the problem of the greenhouse effect, while 88% thought this was a major reason for continuing to use nuclear power. Historically the position has generally been favourable, with around two thirds of the population strongly supporting nuclear power, while the Gaullists, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party were also all in favour. When the Civaux Nuclear Power Plant was being constructed in 1997, it was claimed to be welcomed by the local community:
In France, unlike in America, nuclear energy is accepted, even popular. Everybody I spoke to in Civaux loves the fact their region was chosen. The nuclear plant has brought jobs and prosperity to the area. Nobody I spoke to, nobody, expressed any fear.

A variety of reasons were cited for the popular support; a sense of national independence and reduced reliance on foreign oil, reduction of greenhouse gases, and a cultural interest in large technological projects (like the TGV and Concorde).

Anti-nuclear movement
Following the 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents, around 1,000 people took part in a protest against nuclear power in Paris on March 20. Most of the protests, however, are focused on the closure of the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant, where some 3,800 French and Germans demonstrated on April 8, and where a larger demonstration is expected on April 25. While there were protests when the Messmer Plan was announced in the 1970s, until recently the only widespread opposition to nuclear power was an outbreak of riots in the 1980s when the government started to explore sites for a potential deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste. Various anti-nuclear movements have appeared over the years, starting with the emergence of the environmentalist movement in the 1970s which opposed the creation of the Superphnix nuclear power station, culminating in a rocket attack on the incomplete containment building in 1982. In June 1997, one of the first actions of socialist Lionel Jospin on becoming Prime Minister was to announce the closure of the plant "because of its excessive costs", in accordance to electoral deals with The Greens, created in the beginning of the 1980s. After the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, the network Sortir du nuclaire (Nuclear phase-out) was also created. Greenpeace has consistently opposed the use of nuclear power, and has been campaigning since 1997 for the shutdown of La Hague reprocessing site.

Environmental impact
In 2007 Areva NC claimed that, due to their reliance on nuclear power, France's carbon emissions per kWh are less than 1/10 that of Germany and the UK, and 1/13 that of Denmark, which has no nuclear plants. Its emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide have been reduced by 70% over 20 years, even though the total power output has tripled in that time. French environmentalist Bruno Comby started the group Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy in 1996, and said in 2005, "If well-managed, nuclear energy is very clean, does not create polluting gases in the atmosphere, produces very little waste and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect".

Nuclear Energy in India - Boon or Bane?

Points to be known:

Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity. There are 442 nuclear reactors in the world. And some more nuclear plants are in construction. As of 2010, India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in six nuclear power plants, generating 4,780 MW, while 5 other plants are under construction and are expected to generate an additional 2,720 MW. India plans to increase nuclear power output to 64,000 MW by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. Six nuclear power plants in India are located in Kaiga in Karnataka, Kakrapar in Gujarat, Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu, Narora in Uttar Pradesh, Rawatbhata in Rajasthan, Tarapur in Maharashtra. India involved in ITER ( International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor ), which consists European Union, United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Russia as other members. Indo - US nuclear deal was done on July 18th, 2005, under which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and, in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

In Favor:

Nuclear fission produces energy equal to 10 million times of the energy produced by burning of an atom of fossil fuel or hydro or wind power. Through Nuclear plants, we can save our planet from Global warming as there is no release of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, chlorofluorocarbon) during nuclear reaction. By burning fossil fuels, poisonous CO2 releases. Uranium is obtained from open-cut mines, which is not expensive. And Currently, the high reserves of uranium found on Earth, are expected to last for another 100 years. Nuclear fuel is inexpensive and easier to transport. Nuclear Energy can be produced in large quantities over short periods of time. When compared to the fossil fuel waste, the nuclear waste which occurs due to the production of nuclear power is small in quantity. We can save oil reserves which are going to be run out at some point.

In Against:

Nuclear plants are dangerous if it explodes. Thousands of people suffered in the nuclear accident happened in Chernobyl in 1986. Recently, on march 11th, 2011, four nuclear reactors exploded in Japan due to earth quake. And there are 17 nuclear plant explosions happened in the world till now. Nuclear power releases radiation, which causes severe health problems to the people in it's surroundings. The radiation released by this, lasts for tens of thousands of years in the environment. In Japan, at the place of nuclear reactors which are exploded, high radio activity was found in water, leafy vegetables, sea food, and in the people, who are working for reconstruction those power plants now. Nuclear reactors last for about 40 to 50 years. Terrorists may take advantage of this and may produce nuclear weapons, which is a great risk for entire world. Even though it produces small amount of waste, it is highly hazardous. And the longterm storage of this waste is too difficult. Nuclear plant is highly expensive. Uranium is not renewable. If the resources of uranium are completely used, there isn't any more.


It's definitely a bane as it is highly dangerous. What is the use of this power, when people are suffering from severe health problems. It's not too difficult to live without power, but it's difficult to live without good health. Growth of Technology should not be a danger for human survival. We should work more on alternatives such as solar energy and hydroelectric energies etc.


Nuclear Power: Boon or bane

It started a couple years ago. Everybody was talking about the "greenhouse effect" and "global warming" and the terrible consequences we will have to face if we do not change our lifestyles and our energy consumption. New ways to produce "clean energy" were sought. One of the most advertised solutions are nuclear power plants. They are supposed to produce "clean energy" without the emissions that coal power plants release. As of May 2007, there are 436 nuclear power plants in use worldwide and 31 under construction. The United States is planning on adding about 30 new power plants over the next 15 years to the 103 running right now, and China wants to build 30 reactors over the next 20 years. Nuclear energy is now the second-largest energy source after coal in the United States and accounts for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. electricity generation. Now you think that nuclear power plants sound great, right? Only if you look on the surface of a nuclear power plant. If you look inside, you will find highly enriched radioactive uranium. The uranium atoms are being bombarded with neutrons so they split up (fission). During the fission, the uranium releases an incredible amount of energy in form of heat and radioactive gamma radiation. The heat is used to produce water steam to drive a turbine, which spins a generator to produce power. During this process, no greenhouse gases are released. However, greenhouse gases are released during the mining and the transportation of the uranium that is needed in the reactor. The estimated amount of uranium the United States required for its reactors in 2006 was 19,715 metric tons. Also, because uranium is not a renewable resource, every 18 to 24 months a third of the uranium in a plant has to be replaced. The used fuel has to be transported and stored in a radioactive waste facility. Spent fuel is toxic for billions of years and there is no safe place to store it. All U.S. plants together produce 2,000 tons of radioactive waste every year. The state of Nevada is fighting to not being buried in nuclear waste right now! In addition, "waste generated from uranium mining operations and rainwater runoff can contaminate groundwater and surface water resources with heavy metals and traces of radioactive uranium" (Nuclear Energy Institute). If you support nuclear power plants, you support uranium mining and its consequences. Of course, there is always a risk that the power plant doesn't function correctly and radioactivity is released. Accidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl happened! So, do you still think that energy from nuclear power plants is "clean?" I hope not. Otherwise, something went wrong.

I know that we need a long-term alternative energy source. However, I don't think that nuclear power plants might be the solution. Two-thousand tons of radioactive waste every year got me. It's not worth it! There are other renewable energy sources that do not produce greenhouse gases or radioactive waste. There is wind and solar energy. There is certainly enough wind and sun in Colorado! But before you do anything else, try to conserve energy. Use your bike instead of your car, read a book instead of watching TV, do something outdoors! Just think about it! Markus Mayer lives in Fort Collins.

Nuclear energy has been a controversial topic and a topic of debate from ages ago. In this post, I would like to analyse this from a layman's perspective. Countries are growing rapidly, both economically and by population. And a commodity that seems to be needed more than ever, and the need for which will continue to grow unabated is energy. Energy is needed to do anything - Whether it is to recharge your cell phone, or to power huge machinery, it's a fundamental requirement. And all these days, we were using thermal power for most of the energy. With passage of time and with growing demand for energy and a rapidly declining stock of coal, natural gas and oil, search for alternate sources of energy has become a high priority. And one of the top contenders is Nuclear energy. Of course, there are other sources, but the problem is that they are not viable. Coal, natural gas and oil are fast depleting, emit a lot of smoke and gases and will not be taken into account in this discussion. So what then? Solar seems to be a very appealing source of energy, but if the cost of panels is going to be as prohibitive as it is now, then it will never be used for anything beyond Solar Water Heaters. The solar panels are extremely expensive for the amount of energy that they give, and that is therefore not widely accepted. Of course, other problems such as "What to do when the sun don't shine?" (except kissing - for those who didn't get it) exist Water is not a continuous source of supply, and is available in very limited places such as water falls, and building dams seem to require relocation of entire villages which will result in other problems. Geothermal energy is again limited to very few places, and doesn't result in a lot of energy. Going for sea water (tidal) is also not a great idea, since the salt seems to create a lot

of problem. Wind may seem to be really appealing - Perhaps we should try installing huge arrays of windmills in deserts and along the coast... I am not sure if it will still suffice. As we see above, most of them are not viable because of cost, non availability, not being steady or not being sufficient. Therefore, the only alternative is nuclear. But nuclear has its own disadvantages... The best example for anti-nuclear is Japan. If a meltdown gets triggered due to a natural disaster or a terror threat, or some other way, thousands of people will be affected for hundreds of years. But at the same time, we cannot simply say that we should not go for it because of its inherent dangers, because of the huge demand supply mismatch that glares at us. Therefore, to summarise, I believe that till a better source of energy is found, nuclear energy is the way to go ahead. Of course, the location of the reactors should be chosen wisely, and enormous safety precautions should be taken... But overall, I believe that nuclear is the way ahead. ---

Is Nuclear Energy an Alternative Fuel?

Everyone seems to have mixed feelings about alternative fuels and the fact that we are wallowing in the middle of an energy crisis; it is time we take an objective look at our alternative Fuels. What is your take on Nuclear Fuel? Is it a boon or a bane? Nuclear energy amounts to about 19% of the total energy generated in United States and about 16 % of the total energy generated around the world. Both the fission and fusion process of producing nuclear energy dispels enormous amount of heat and energy which can be used to produce electricity. Although, nuclear energy can fulfill the electricity needs of the world even after the exhaustion of coal and oil, nuclear energy as an alternative source of energy has not been given much importance. This is probably because of the possible harm it can cause to mankind and to the environment. No doubt it's clean. It does not produce harmful gases like coal ,which when burnt , produces gases like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide; but nuclear

energy when produced, generates large amount of radiation which is harmful to the cells of the human body which causes numerous diseases including dangerous diseases like cancer.Extreme exposure to radiation may also lead to death. Also, the exposure to radiation would not be evident immediately in many cases. Illness can strike people even years after their exposure to nuclear radiation.

American Nuclear Society


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Also another disadvantage of nuclear energy is that they have to be disposed properly. Improper disposal of nuclear waste can again lead to radiation. High level wastes from nuclear reactors include the fuel that is used in the nuclear reactor which is called as spent fuel. Spent fuel is highly radioactive and very dangerous. It must be cooled for several years in special storage facilities outside the plant site or in deep pools inside the plant. A special disposal site is needed for this type of spent fuel. The primary impact of nuclear power is on the environment, through the mining of uranium, which is used as a fuel for nuclear energy. Uranium is nonrenewable, though it is a common metal found in rocks all over the world. Nuclear plants use a certain kind of uranium, U-235, as fuel because its atoms can be easily split apart. Though uranium is quite common, about 100 times more common than silver, U-235 is relatively rare. Improper disposal of radioactive substances, may also lead to crops and water bodies being exposed to radiation. Such crops and water when consumed would also result in illness and death to man and animals. On the other hand, low level nuclear material which is not so dangerous is used to detect and cure certain illnesses like cancer. It is also used for pain relieving and therapeutic purpose in medical treatment. Nuclear materials are also used in industries to locate cracks in steel which especially becomes useful in construction industries. Nuclear disasters can become one of the most devastating incidents on the planet, and the possibility of their occurrence must be taken into consideration, given the vast amount of nuclear resources resting with each of the powerful nations. Although many safety features

exist to prevent such catastrophes; the environment does not have any safety features to protect itself from the harmful effects of nuclear waste. And hence necessary steps must be taken before using nuclear energy as an alternative for electricity or fuel.

Marie Curie
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search "Madame Curie" redirects here. For the 1943 biographical film about her, see Madame Curie (film). This article is about the chemist and physicist. For the schools named after her, see cole lmentaire Marie-Curie and Marie Curie High School.

Marie SkodowskaCurie


7 November 1867 Warsaw, Russian held parts of Poland


4 July 1934 (aged 66)

Passy, Haute-Savoie, France Citizenship Nationality Fields Institutions Russian, later French Polish Physics, chemistry University of Paris University of Paris ESPCI Henri Becquerel Andr-Louis Debierne scar Moreno Marguerite Catherine Perey Radioactivity, polonium, radium Nobel Prize in Physics (1903) Davy Medal (1903) Matteucci Medal (1904) Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1911) Pierre Curie (1895-1906) Signature

Alma mater

Doctoral advisor

Doctoral students

Known for

Notable awards


Notes She is the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was the wife of Pierre Curie, and the mother of Irne Joliot-Curie

and ve Curie.

Marie Skodowska Curie (7 November 1867 4 July 1934) was a PolishFrench physicistchemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes[1]in physics and chemistry. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris. She was the first woman to be entombed on her own merits (in 1995) in the Paris Panthon.[citation needed] She was born Maria Salomea Skodowska in Warsaw, in Russian Poland, and lived there to age twenty-four. In 1891 she followed her older sister Bronisawa to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared her Nobel Prize in Physics (1903) with her husband Pierre Curie (and with Henri Becquerel). Her daughter Irne Joliot-Curie and son-in-law, Frdric Joliot-Curie, would similarly share a Nobel Prize. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and is the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. Her achievements include a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined[2]), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes: the Curie Institute (Paris) and the Curie Institute (Warsaw). While an actively loyal French citizen, SkodowskaCurie (as she styled herself) 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 that she discovered "polonium" (1898) for her native country.[3] During World War I she became a member of the Committee for a Free Poland (Komitet Wolnej Polski).[4] In 1932 she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria SkodowskaCurie Institute of Oncology) in her home town, Warsaw, headed by her physician-sister Bronisawa.


1 Early life 2 Sorbonne 3 New elements 4 Nobel Prizes 5 Pierre's death 6 World War I 7 Post-war years 8 Death

9 Legacy 10 Awards 11 Honors 12 Tributes 13 See also 14 Notes 15 References 16 Fiction 17 External links

Early life

Birthplace on ulica Freta in Warsaw's "New Town" now home of the Maria Skodowska-Curie Museum.

Wadysaw Skodowski with daughters (from left) Maria, Bronisawa, Helena

Maria Skodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland, on 7 November 1867, the fifth and youngest child of well-known teachers Bronisawa and Wadysaw Skodowski. Maria's older siblings were Zofia (born 1862), Jzef (1863), Bronisawa (1865) and Helena (1866). Maria's paternal grandfather Jzef Skodowski had been a respected teacher in Lublin, where he taught the young Bolesaw Prus.[5] Her father Wadysaw Skodowski taught mathematics and physics, subjects that Maria was to pursue, and was also director of two Warsaw gymnasia for boys, in addition to lodging boys in the family home. Maria's mother Bronisawa operated a prestigious Warsaw boarding school for girls; she suffered from tuberculosis and died when Maria was twelve. Maria's father was an atheist; her mothera devout Catholic.[6] Two years earlier Maria's oldest sibling, Zofia, had died of typhus. The deaths of her mother and sister, according to Robert William Reid, caused Maria to give up Catholicism and become agnostic.[7] When she was ten years old, Maria began attending the boarding school that her mother had operated while she was well; next Maria attended a gymnasium for girls, from which she graduated on 12 June 1883. She spent the following year in the countryside with relatives of her father's, and the next with her father in Warsaw, where she did some tutoring. On both the paternal and maternal sides, the family had lost their property and fortunes through patriotic involvements in Polish national uprisings. This condemned each subsequent generation, including that of Maria, her elder sisters and her brother, to a difficult struggle to get ahead in life.[8]

Elderly orawski

At a lab here, in 189091, Skodowska did her first scientific work.

Maria made an agreement with her sister, Bronisawa, that she would give her financial assistance during Bronisawa's medical studies in Paris, in exchange for similar assistance two years later.[9] In connection with this, Maria took a position as governess: first with a lawyer's family in Krakw; then for two years in Ciechanw with a landed family, the orawskis, who were relatives of her father. While working for the latter family, she fell in love with their son, Kazimierz orawski, which was reciprocated by this future eminent mathematician. His parents, however, rejected the idea of his marrying the penniless relative, and Kazimierz was unable to oppose them. Maria lost her position as governess.[10] She found another with the Fuchs family in Sopot, on the Baltic Sea coast, where she spent the next year, all the while financially assisting her sister. At the beginning of 1890, Bronisawa, a few months after she married Kazimierz Duski, invited Maria to join them in Paris. Maria declined because she could not afford the university tuition and was still counting on marrying Kazimierz orawski. She returned home to her father in Warsaw, where she remained till the fall of 1891. She tutored, studied at the clandestine Floating University, and began her practical scientific training in a laboratory at the Museum of Industry and Agriculture at Krakowskie Przedmiecie 66, near Warsaw's Old Town. The laboratory was run by her cousin Jzef Boguski, who had been assistant in Saint Petersburg to the great Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.[11] In October 1891, at her sister's insistence and after receiving a letter from orawski, in which he definitively broke his relationship with her, she decided to go to France after all.[6] Maria's loss of the relationship with orawski was tragic for both. He soon earned a doctorate and pursued an academic career as a mathematician, becoming a professor and

rector of Krakw University and president of the Warsaw Society of Learning. Still, as an old man and a mathematics professor at the Warsaw Polytechnic, he would sit contemplatively before the statue of Maria Skodowska which had been erected in 1935 before the Radium Institute that she had founded in 1932.[12] In Paris, Maria briefly found shelter with her sister and brother-in-law before renting a primitive garret[13] and proceeding with her studies of physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the Sorbonne (the University of Paris).


Pierre Curie

Skodowska studied during the day and tutored evenings, barely earning her keep. In 1893, she was awarded a degree in physics and began work in an industrial laboratory at Lippman's. Meanwhile she continued studying at the Sorbonne, and in 1894, earned a degree in mathematics. That same year, Pierre Curie entered her life. He was an instructor at the School of Physics and Chemistry, the cole suprieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI). Skodowska had begun her scientific career in Paris with an investigation of the magnetic properties of various steels; it was their mutual interest in magnetism that drew Skodowska and Curie together.[14] Her departure for the summer to Warsaw only enhanced their mutual feelings for each other. She still was laboring under the illusion that she would be able to return to Poland and work in her chosen field of study. When she was denied a place at Krakw University merely because she was a woman,[15] however, she returned to Paris. Almost a year later, in July 1895, she and Pierre Curie married, and thereafter the two physicists hardly ever left their

laboratory. They shared two hobbies, long bicycle trips and journeys abroad, which brought them even closer. Maria had found a new love, a partner, and a scientific collaborator upon whom she could depend.[15]

New elements
In 1896 Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium salts emitted rays that resembled X-rays in their penetrating power. He demonstrated that this radiation, unlike phosphorescence, did not depend on an external source of energy, but seemed to arise spontaneously from uranium itself. Becquerel had, in fact, discovered radioactivity. SkodowskaCurie decided to look into uranium rays as a possible field of research for a thesis. She used a clever technique to investigate samples. Fifteen years earlier, her husband and his brother had invented the electrometer, a sensitive device for measuring electrical charge. Using the Curie electrometer, she discovered that uranium rays caused the air around a sample to conduct electricity.[16] 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 had shown that the radiation was not the outcome of some interaction of molecules, but must come from the atom itself. In scientific terms, this was the most important single piece of work that she conducted.[17] SkodowskaCurie's systematic studies had included two uranium minerals, pitchblende and torbernite (also known as chalcolite). Her electrometer showed that pitchblende was four times as active as uranium itself, and chalcolite twice as active. She concluded that, if her earlier results relating the quantity of uranium to its activity were correct, then these two minerals must contain small quantities of some other substance that was far more active than uranium itself.[18]
The idea [writes Reid] was her own; no one helped her formulate it, and although she took it to her husband for his opinion she clearly established her ownership of it. She later recorded the fact twice in her biography of her husband to ensure there was no chance whatever of any ambiguity. It [is] likely that already at this early stage of her career [she] realized that... many scientists would find it difficult to believe that a woman could be capable of the original work in which she was involved.[19]

In her systematic search for other substances beside uranium salts that emitted radiation, SkodowskaCurie had found that the element thorium likewise, was radioactive.

Pierre and Marie Curie in their Paris laboratory, before 1907

She was acutely aware of the importance of promptly publishing her discoveries and thus establishing her priority. Had not Becquerel, two years earlier, presented his discovery to the Acadmie des Sciences the day after he made it, credit for the discovery of radioactivity, and even a Nobel Prize, would have gone to Silvanus Thompson instead. SkodowskaCurie chose the same rapid means of publication. Her paper, giving a brief and simple account of her work, was presented for her to the Acadmie on 12 April 1898 by her former professor, Gabriel Lippmann.[20] Even so, just as Thompson had been beaten by Becquerel, so SkodowskaCurie was beaten in the race to tell of her discovery that thorium gives off rays in the same way as uranium. Two months earlier, Gerhard Schmidt had published his own finding in Berlin.[21] At that time, however, no one else in the world of physics had noticed what Skodowska Curie recorded in a sentence of her paper, describing how much greater were the activities of pitchblende and chalcolite compared to uranium itself: "The fact is very remarkable, and leads to the belief that these minerals may contain an element which is much more active than uranium." She later would recall how she felt "a passionate desire to verify this hypothesis as rapidly as possible."[22] Pierre Curie was sure that what she had discovered was not a spurious effect. He was so intrigued that he decided to drop his work on crystals temporarily and to join her. On 14 April 1898, they optimistically weighed out a 100-gram sample of pitchblende and ground it with a pestle and mortar. They did not realize at the time that what they were searching for was present in such minute quantities that they eventually would have to process tons of the ore.[22] As they were unaware of the deleterious effects of radiation exposure attendant on their chronic unprotected work with radioactive substances, SkodowskaCurie and her husband had no idea what price they would pay for the effect of their research upon their health.[15]

Pierre, Irne, Marie Curie

In July 1898, SkodowskaCurie and her husband published a paper together, announcing the existence of an element which they named "polonium", in honor of her native Poland, which would for another twenty years remain partitioned among three empires. On 26 December 1898, the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named "radium" for its intense radioactivity a word that they coined. Pitchblende is a complex mineral. The chemical separation of its constituents was an arduous task. The discovery of polonium had been relatively easy; chemically it resembles the element bismuth, and polonium was the only bismuth-like substance in the ore. Radium, however, was more elusive. It is closely related, chemically, to barium, and pitchblende contains both elements. By 1898, the Curies had obtained traces of radium, but appreciable quantities, uncontaminated with barium, still were beyond reach.[23] The Curies undertook the arduous task of separating out radium salt by differential crystallization. From a ton of pitchblende, one-tenth of a gram of radium chloride was separated in 1902. By 1910, SkodowskaCurie, working on without her husband, who had been killed accidentally by a horse drawn vehicle[24] in 1906, had isolated the pure radium metal.[25] In an unusual decision, Marie SkodowskaCurie intentionally refrained from patenting the radium-isolation process, so that the scientific community could do research unhindered.[26] In 1903, under the supervision of Henri Becquerel,[27] Marie was awarded her DSc from the University of Paris.

Nobel Prizes


1911, awarded second Nobel Prize

In 1903 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Pierre Curie, Marie Curie and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel." SkodowskaCurie and her husband were unable to go to Stockholm to receive the prize in person, but they shared its financial proceeds with needy acquaintances, including students.[15] On receiving the Nobel Prize, Marie and Pierre Curie suddenly became very famous. The Sorbonne gave Pierre a professorship and permitted him to establish his own laboratory, in which SkodowskaCurie became the director of research.

In 1897 and 1904, respectively, SkodowskaCurie gave birth to their daughters, Irne and Eve Curie. She later hired Polish governesses to teach her daughters her native language, and sent or took them on visits to Poland.[28] SkodowskaCurie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Eight years later, she would receive the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, "in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element."

1911 Nobel Prize

A month after accepting her 1911 Nobel Prize, she was hospitalized with depression and a kidney ailment. SkodowskaCurie was the first person to win or share two Nobel Prizes. She is one of only two people who have been awarded a Nobel Prize in two different fields, the other person being Linus Pauling (for chemistry and for peace). Nevertheless, in 1911 the French Academy of Sciences refused to abandon its prejudice against women, and she failed by two votes to be elected a member. Elected instead was douard Branly, an inventor who had helped Guglielmo Marconi develop the wireless telegraph.[29] It would be a doctoral student of SkodowskaCurie, Marguerite Perey, who would become the first woman elected to membership in the Academy over half a century later, in 1962.

Pierre's death
On 19 April 1906 Pierre was killed in a street accident. Walking across the Rue Dauphine in heavy rain, he was struck by a horse-drawn vehicle and fell under its wheels; his skull was fractured.[24] While it has been speculated that previously he may have been weakened by prolonged radiation exposure, there are no indications that this contributed to the accident. Skodowska-Curie was devastated by the death of her husband. She noted that, as of that moment she suddenly had become "an incurably and wretchedly lonely person". On 13 May 1906, the Sorbonne physics department decided to retain the chair that had been created for Pierre Curie and they entrusted it to Skodowska-Curie together with full authority over the

laboratory. This allowed her to emerge from Pierre's shadow. She became the first woman to become a professor at the Sorbonne, and in her exhausting work regime she sought a meaning for her life.

At First Solvay Conference (1911), Skodowska-Curie (seated, 2nd from right) confers with Henri Poincar. Standing, 4th from right, is Rutherford; 2nd from right, Einstein; far right, Paul Langevin

Recognition for her work grew to new heights, and in 1911 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded her a second Nobel Prize, this time for Chemistry. A delegation of celebrated Polish men of learning, headed by world-famous novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz, encouraged her to return to Poland and continue her research in her native country.[15] In 1911 it was revealed that in 191011 Skodowska-Curie had conducted an affair of about a year's duration with physicist Paul Langevin, a former student of Pierre Curie's.[30] He was a married man who was estranged from his wife. This resulted in a press scandal that was exploited by her academic opponents. Despite her fame as a scientist working for France, the public's attitude tended toward xenophobiathe same that had led to the Dreyfus Affairwhich also fueled false speculation that Skodowska-Curie was Jewish. She was five years older than Langevin and was portrayed in the tabloids as a home-wrecker.[31] Later, Skodowska-Curie's granddaughter, Hlne Joliot, married Langevin's grandson, Michel Langevin. Skodowska-Curie's second Nobel Prize, in 1911, enabled her to talk the French government into funding the building of a private Radium Institute (Institut du radium, now the Institut Curie), which was built in 1914 and at which research was conducted in chemistry, physics, and medicine. The Institute became a crucible of Nobel Prize winners, producing four more, including her daughter Irne Joliot-Curie and her son-in-law, Frdric Joliot-Curie.

World War I

Curie in a World War I mobile X-ray vehicle

During World War I, Skodowska-Curie pushed for the use of mobile radiography units, which came to be popularly known as petites Curies ("Little Curies"), for the treatment of wounded soldiers. These units were powered using tubes of radium emanation, a colorless, radioactive gas given off by radium, later identified as radon. Skodowska-Curie provided the tubes of radium, derived from the material she purified. Also, promptly after the war started, she donated the gold Nobel Prize medals she and her husband had been awarded, to the war effort. She was also active member in committees of Polish Polonia in France dedicated to Polish cause.[32]

Post-war years
In 1921 Skodowska-Curie was welcomed triumphantly when she toured the United States to raise funds for research on radium. These distractions from her scientific labors and the attendant publicity caused her much discomfort but provided resources needed for her work. Her second American tour in 1929 succeeded in equipping the Warsaw Radium Institute, founded in 1925 with her sister, Bronisawa, as director. In her later years, Skodowska-Curie headed the Pasteur Institute and a radioactivity laboratory created for her by the University of Paris.


1935 statue, facing the Radium Institute, Warsaw

SkodowskaCurie visited Poland for the last time in the spring of 1934.[15] Only a few months later, on 4 July 1934, Skodowska-Curie died at the Sancellemoz Sanatorium in Passy, in Haute-Savoie, eastern France, from aplastic anemia contracted from exposure to radiation.[33] The damaging effects of ionizing radiation were not then known, and much of her work had been carried out in a shed, without proper safety measures. She had carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket and stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the pretty blue-green light that the substances gave off in the dark.[34] She was interred at the cemetery in Sceaux, alongside her husband Pierre. Sixty years later, in 1995, in honor of their achievements, the remains of both were transferred to the Panthon, Paris. She became the first and so far the only woman to be honored with interment in the Panthon on her own merits. Her laboratory is preserved at the Muse Curie. Because of their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890s are considered too dangerous to handle. Even her cookbook is highly radioactive. They are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing.[35]


Statue, Maria Curie-Skodowska University, Lublin, Poland

The physical and societal aspects of the work of the Curies contributed substantially to shaping the world of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Cornell University professor L. Pearce Williams observes:
The result of the Curies' work was epoch-making. Radium's radioactivity was so great that it could not be ignored. It seemed to contradict the principle of the conservation of energy and therefore forced a reconsideration of the foundations of physics. On the experimental level the discovery of radium provided men like Ernest Rutherford with sources of radioactivity with which they could probe the structure of the atom. As a result of Rutherford's experiments with alpha radiation, the nuclear atom was first postulated. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked.[25]

If the work of Maria SkodowskaCurie helped overturn established ideas in physics and chemistry, it has had an equally profound effect in the societal sphere. To attain her scientific achievements, she had to overcome barriers that were placed in her way because she was a woman, in both her native and her adoptive country. This aspect of her life and career is highlighted in Franoise Giroud's Marie Curie: A Life, which emphasizes Skodowska's role as a feminist precursor. She was ahead of her time, emancipated, independent, and in addition uncorrupted. Albert Einstein is reported to have remarked that she was probably the only person who was not corrupted by the fame that she had won.[36]

Marie Skodowska-Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.

Nobel Prize in Physics (1903)

Davy Medal (1903) Matteucci Medal (1904) Elliott Cresson Medal (1909) Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1911)

The lives of famous scientists are not always luxurious. The Curies reportedly used part of their award money to replace wallpaper in their Parisian home and install modern plumbing into a bathroom.[37]

Madame Curie was decorated with the French Legion of Honor. In Poland, she had received honorary doctorates from the Lww Polytechnic (1912), Pozna University (1922), Krakw's Jagiellonian University (1924), and the Warsaw Polytechnic (1926). Their elder daughter, Irne Joliot-Curie, won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 for discovering that aluminum could be made radioactive and emit neutrons when bombarded with alpha rays. Their younger daughter, ve Curie, later wrote a biography of her mother. Michalina Mocicka, wife of Polish President Ignacy Mocicki, unveiled a 1935 statue of Marie Curie before Warsaw's Radium Institute, which had been founded by Marie Curie. Within a decade, during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the monument suffered damage from gunfire. After the war, when maintenance was done, it was decided to leave the bulletinflicted scars on the statue.[15] In 1967, a museum devoted to SkodowskaCurie was established in Warsaw's "New Town", in her birthplace on ulica Freta (Freta Street).[15] The year 2011 has been declared the Year of Marie Curie by France and Poland. "Madame Curie," which fills the Jacobs gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Arts downtown space, is an artistic installation celebrating the scientist.[38]


Panthon, Paris

As one of the most famous female scientists to date, Marie Curie has been an icon in the scientific world and has inspired many tributes and recognitions. In 1995 she was the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthon, Paris, alongside her husband Pierre Curie. The curie (symbol Ci), a unit of radioactivity, is named in honour of her and Pierre,[39][40] as is the element with atomic number 96 curium. Three radioactive minerals are named after the Curies: curite, sklodowskite, and cuprosklodowskite. Skodowska-Curie's likeness appeared on the Polish late-1980s inflationary 20,000-zoty banknote. Her likeness also has appeared on stamps and coins, as well as on the last French 500-franc note, before the franc was replaced by the euro. In a 2009 poll carried out by New Scientist, Marie Curie was voted the "most inspirational woman in science". Curie received 25.1 per cent of all votes cast, nearly twice as many as second-place Rosalind Franklin (14.2 per cent).[41][42] Polish institutions named after Maria SkodowskaCurie include:

Maria Curie-Skodowska University, in Lublin, founded in 1944;

Soviet postage stamp

Maria SkodowskaCurie Institute of Oncology, in Warsaw

French institutions named after Maria SkodowskaCurie include:

Pierre and Marie Curie University, the largest science, technology and medicine university in France, and successor to the faculty of science at the University of Paris, where Marie Curie taught. The university is home to the laboratory where the couple discovered radium.

The Curie Institute and Curie Museum, in Paris In 2007, the Pierre Curie Paris Mtro station was renamed the "Pierre et Marie Curie" station.

Maria Skodowska-Curie Medallion, University at Buffalo

American institutions named after Maria SkodowskaCurie include:

Curie Community at the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, in Chicago, a memorial gathering room for students at the university In Bayside, Queens, New York, another school named for her, Marie Curie M.S. 158, specializes in science and technology; as does Curie Metropolitan High School located in Archer Heights, on Chicago's Southwest Side which has a Technical, Performing Arts and IB program The Maria Skodowska-Curie Medallion, a stained-glass panel created by Jozef C. Mazur, may be found at the University at Buffalo Polish Room.

Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon starred in the 1943 U.S. Oscar-nominated film, Madame Curie, based on her life. "Marie Curie" also is the name of a character in a 1988 comedy, Young Einstein, by Yahoo Serious. More recently, in 1997, a French film about Pierre and Marie Curie was released, Les Palmes de M. Schutz. It was adapted from a play of the same name. In the film, Marie Curie was played by Isabelle Huppert. Unlike the 1943 drama, Les Palmes de M. Shutz is a light comedy. A KLM McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (registration PH-KCC) is named in her honor.[43]

See also

Eusapia Palladino List of female Nobel laureates List of Polish people Physics Marie Curie Cancer Care List of people on stamps of Ireland (Marie Curie stamp, issued in 2000) Marie Mattingly Meloney, organized drive to buy radium for Marie Curie

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1911

Marie Curie
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1911

Summary Presentation Speech Marie Curie


Marie Curie, ne Maria Sklodowska, was born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, the daughter of a secondary-school teacher. She received a general education in local schools and some scientific training from her father. She became involved in a students' revolutionary organization and found it prudent to leave Warsaw, then in the part of Poland dominated by Russia, for Cracow, which at that time was under Austrian rule. In 1891, she went to Paris to continue her studies at the Sorbonne where she obtained Licenciateships in Physics and the Mathematical Sciences. She met Pierre Curie, Professor in the School of Physics, in 1894 and in the following year they were married. She succeeded her husband as Head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne, gained her Doctor of Science degree in 1903, and following the tragic death of Pierre Curie in 1906, she took his place as Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences, the first time a woman had held this position. She was also appointed Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute of the University of Paris, founded in 1914. Her early researches, together with her husband, were often performed under difficult conditions, laboratory arrangements were poor and both had to undertake much teaching to earn a livelihood. The discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel in 1896 inspired the Curies in their brilliant researches and analyses which led to the isolation of polonium, named after the country of Marie's birth, and radium. Mme. Curie developed methods for the separation of radium from radioactive residues in sufficient quantities to allow for its characterization and the careful study of its properties, therapeutic properties in particular.

Mme. Curie throughout her life actively promoted the use of radium to alleviate suffering and during World War I, assisted by her daughter, Irne, she personally devoted herself to this remedial work. She retained her enthusiasm for science throughout her life and did much to establish a radioactivity laboratory in her native city in 1929 President Hoover of the United States presented her with a gift of $50,000 donated by American friends of science, to purchase radium for use in the laboratory in Warsaw. Mme. Curie, quiet, dignified and unassuming, was held in high esteem and admiration by scientists throughout the world. She was a member of the Conseil du Physique Solvay from 1911 until her death and since 1922 she had been a member of the Committee of Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations. Her work is recorded in numerous papers in scientific journals and she is the author of Recherches sur les Substances Radioactives (Investigations on radioactive substances) (1904), L'Isotopie et les Elments Isotopes (Isotopy and isotopic elements) and the classic Trait de radioactivit (Treatise on radioactivity) (1910). The importance of Mme. Curie's work is reflected in the numerous awards bestowed on her. She received many honorary science, medicine and law degrees and honorary memberships of learned societies throughout the world. Together with her husband, she was awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, for their study into the spontaneous radiation discovered by Becquerel, who was awarded the other half of the Prize. In 1911 she received a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, in recognition of her work in radioactivity. She also received, jointly with her husband, the Davy Medal of the Royal Society in 1903 and, in 1921, President Harding of the United States, on behalf of the women of America, presented her with one gram of radium in recognition of her service to science. The Curie's elder daughter, Irne, married Frdric Joliot in 1926 and they were joint recipients of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935. The younger daughter, Eve, married the American diplomat H.R. Labouisse. They have both taken lively interest in social problems, and as Director of the United Nations' Children's Fund he received on its behalf the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1965. She is the author of a famous biography of her mother, Madame Curie (Gallimard, Paris, 1938), translated into several languages. Mme. Curie died in Savoy, France, after a short illness, on July 4, 1934.
From Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1966 This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Marie and Pierre Curie and the Discovery of

Polonium and Radium

by Nanny Frman *

Marie and Pierre Curie's pioneering research was again brought to mind when on April 20 1995, their bodies were taken from their place of burial at Sceaux, just outside Paris, and in a solemn ceremony were laid to rest under the mighty dome of the Panthon. Marie Curie thus became the first woman to be accorded this mark of honour on her own merit. One woman, Sophie Berthelot, admittedly already rested there but in the capacity of wife of the chemist Marcelin Berthelot (1827-1907). It was Franois Mitterrand who, before ending his fourteen-year-long presidency, took this initiative, as he said "in order to finally respect the equality of women and men before the law and in reality" ("pour respecter enfin....l'galit des femmes et des hommes dans le droit comme dans les faits"). In point of fact - as the press pointed out - this initiative was symbolic three times over. Marie Curie was a woman, she was an immigrant and she had to a high degree helped increase the prestige of France in the scientific world. At the end of the 19th century, a number of discoveries were made in physics which paved the way for the breakthrough of modern physics and led to the revolutionary technical development that is continually changing our daily lives. Around 1886, Heinrich Hertz demonstrated experimentally the existence of radio waves. It is said that Hertz only smiled incredulously when anyone predicted that his waves would one day be sent round the earth. Hertz died in 1894 at the early age of 37. In September 1895, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio signal over a distance of 1.5 km. In 1901 he spanned the Atlantic. Hertz did not live long enough to experience the far-reaching positive effects of his great discovery, nor of course did he have to see it abused in bad television programs. It is hard to predict the consequences of new discoveries in physics. On November 8, 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Rntgen at the University of Wrzburg, discovered a new kind of radiation which he called X-rays. It could in time be identified as the short-wave, high frequency counterpart of Hertz's waves. The ability of the radiation to pass through opaque material that was impenetrable to ordinary light, naturally created a great sensation. Rntgen himself wrote to a friend that initially, he told no one except his wife about what he was doing. People would say, "Rntgen is out of his mind". On January 1, 1896, he mailed his first announcement of the discovery to his colleagues. "....und nun ging der Teufel los" ("and now the Devil was let loose") he wrote. His discovery very soon made an impact on practical medicine. In physics it led to a chain of new and sensational findings. When Henri Becquerel was exposing salts of uranium to sunlight to study whether the new radiation could have a connection with luminescence, he found out by chance - thanks to a few days of cloudy weather - that another new type of radiation was being spontaneously emanated without the salts of uranium having to be illuminated - a radiation that could pass through metal foil and darken a photographic plate. The two researchers who were to play a major role in the continued study of this new radiation were Marie and Pierre Curie.


Marie Curie

Marie Sklodowska, as she was called before marriage, was born in Warsaw in 1867. Both her parents were teachers who believed deeply in the importance of education. Marie had her first lessons in physics and chemistry from her father. She had a brilliant aptitude for study and a great thirst for knowledge; however, advanced study was not possible for women in Poland. Marie dreamed of being able to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, but this was beyond the means of her family. To solve the problem, Marie and her elder sister, Bronya, came to an arrangement: Marie should go to work as a governess and help her sister with the money she managed to save so that Bronya could study medicine at the Sorbonne. When Bronya had taken her degree she, in her turn, would contribute to the cost of Marie's studies. So it was not until she was 24 that Marie came to Paris to study mathematics and physics. Bronya was now married to a doctor of Polish origin, and it was at Bronya's urgent invitation to come and live with them that Marie took the step of leaving for Paris. By then she had been away from her studies for six years, nor had she had any training in understanding rapidly spoken French. But her keen interest in studying and her joy at being at the Sorbonne with all its opportunities helped her surmount all difficulties. To save herself a two-hours journey, she rented a little attic in the Quartier Latin. There the cold was so intense that at night she had to pile on everything she had in the way of clothing so as to be able to sleep. But as compensation for all her privations she had total freedom to be able to devote herself wholly to her studies. "It was like a new world opened to me, the world of science, which I was at last permitted to know in all liberty," she writes. And it was France's leading mathematicians and physicists whom she was able to go to hear, people with names we now encounter in the history of science: Marcel Brillouin, Paul Painlev, Gabriel Lippmann, and Paul Appell. After two years, when she took her degree in physics in 1893, she headed the list of candidates and, in the following year, she came second in a degree in mathematics. After three years she had brilliantly passed examinations in physics and mathematics. Her goal was to take a teacher's diploma and then to return to Poland.

Marie Sklodowska, before she left for Paris.


Pierre Curie

Now, however, there occurred an event that was to be of decisive importance in her life. She met Pierre Curie. He was 35 years, eight years older, and an internationally known physicist, but an outsider in the French scientific community - a serious idealist and dreamer whose greatest wish was to be able to devote his life to scientific work. He was completely indifferent to outward distinctions and a career. He earned a living as the

head of a laboratory at the School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry where engineeers were trained and he lived for his research into crystals and into the magnetic properties of bodies at different temperatures. He had not attended one of the French elite schools but had been taught by his father, who was a physician, and by a private teacher. He passed his baccalaureat at the early age of 16 and at 21, with his brother Jacques, he had discovered piezoelectricity, which means that a difference in electrical potential is seen when mechanical stresses are applied on certain crystals, including quartz. Such crystals are now used in microphones, electronic apparatus and clocks. Marie, too, was an idealist; though outwardly shy and retiring, she was in reality energetic and single-minded. Pierre and Marie immediately discovered an intellectual affinity, which was very soon transformed into deeper feelings. In July 1895, they were married at the town hall at Sceaux, where Pierre's parents lived. They were given money as a wedding present which they used to buy a bicycle for each of them, and long, sometimes adventurous, cycle rides became their way of relaxing. Their life was otherwise quietly monotonous, a life filled with work and study. Persuaded by his father and by Marie, Pierre submitted his doctoral thesis in 1895. It concerned various types of magnetism, and contained a presentation of the connection between temperature and magnetism that is now known as Curie's Law. In 1896, Marie passed her teacher's diploma, coming first in her group. Their daughter Irne was born in September 1897. Pierre had managed to arrange that Marie should be allowed to work in the school's laboratory, and in 1897, she concluded a number of investigations into the magnetic properties of steel on behalf of an industrial association. Deciding after a time to go on doing research, Marie looked around for a subject for a doctoral thesis. Becquerel's discovery had not aroused very much attention. When, just a day or so after his discovery, he informed the Monday meeting of l'Acadmie des Sciences, his colleagues listened politely, then went on to the next item on the agenda. It was Rntgens discovery and the possibilities it provided that were the focus of the interest and enthusiasm of researchers. Becquerel himself made certain important observations, for instance that gases through which the rays passed become able to conduct electricity, but he was soon to leave this field. Marie decided to make a systematic investigation of the mysterious "uranium rays". She had an excellent aid at her disposal - an electrometer for the measurement of weak electrical currents, which was constructed by Pierre and his brother, and was based on the piezoelectric effect.

Surprising Results
Results were not long in coming. Just after a few days, Marie discovered that thorium gives off the same rays as uranium. Her continued systematic studies of the various chemical compounds gave the surprising result that the strength of the radiation did not depend on the compound that was being studied. It depended only on the amount of uranium or thorium. Chemical compounds of the same element generally have very different chemical and physical properties: one uranium compound is a dark powder, another is a transparent yellow crystal, but what was decisive for the radiation they gave off was only the amount of uranium they contained. Marie drew the conclusion that the ability to radiate did not depend on the arrangement of the atoms in a molecule, it must be linked to the interior of the atom itself. This discovery was absolutely revolutionary. From a

conceptual point of view it is her most important contribution to the development of physics. She now went through the whole periodic system. Her findings were that only uranium and thorium gave off this radiation. Marie's next idea, seemingly simple but brilliant, was to study the natural ores that contain uranium and thorium. She obtained samples from geological museums and found that of these ores, pitchblende was four to five times more active than was motivated by the amount of uranium. It was her hypothesis that a new element that was considerably more active than uranium was present in small amounts in the ore.

Marie and Pierre - A Fruitful Collaboration

Fascinating new vistas were opening up. Pierre gave up his research into crystals and symmetry in nature which he was deeply involved in and joined Marie in her project. They found that the strong activity came with the fractions containing bismuth or barium. When Marie continued her analysis of the bismuth fractions, she found that every time she managed to take away an amount of bismuth, a residue with greater activity was left. At the end of June 1898, they had a substance that was about 300 times more strongly active than uranium. In the work they published in July 1898, they write, "We thus believe that the substance that we have extracted from pitchblende contains a metal never known before, akin to bismuth in its analytic properties. If the existence of this new metal is confirmed, we suggest that it should be called polonium after the name of the country of origin of one of us." It was also in this work that they used the term radioactivity for the first time. After another few months of work, the Curies informed the l'Acadmie des Sciences, on December 26, 1898, that they had demonstrated strong grounds for having come upon an additional very active substance that behaved chemically almost like pure barium. They suggested the name of radium for the new element.

Arduous Work
In order to be certain of showing that it was a matter of new elements, the Curies would have to produce them in demonstrable amounts, determine their atomic weight and preferably isolate them. To do so, the Curies would need tons of the costly pitchblende. However, it was known that at the Joachimsthal mine in Bohemia large slag-heaps had been left in the surrounding forests. Marie considered that radium ought to be left in the residue. A sample was sent to them from Bohemia and the slag was found to be even more active than the original mineral. Several tons of pitchblende was later put at their disposal through the good offices of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. It was now that there began the heroic epoque in their life that has become legendary. At this stage they needed more room, and the principal of the school where Pierre worked once again came to their aid. They could use a large shed which was not occupied. There the very laborious work of separation and analysis began. Marie carried out the chemical separations, Pierre undertook the measurements after each successive step. Physically it was heavy work for Marie. She processed 20 kilos of raw material at a time. First of all she had to clear away pine needles and any perceptible debris, then she had to undertake the work of separation. "Sometimes I had to spend a whole day stirring a boiling mass with a heavy iron rod nearly as big as myself. I would be broken with fatigue at day's end," she writes.

In a preface to Pierre Curie's collected works, Marie describes the shed as having a bituminous floor, and a glass roof which provided incomplete protection against the rain, and where it was like a hothouse in the summer, draughty and cold in the winter; yet it was in that shed that they spent the best and happiest years of their lives. There they could devote themselves to work the livelong day. Sometimes they could not do their processing outdoors, so the noxious gases had to be let out through the open windows. The only furniture were old, worn pine tables where Marie worked with her costly radium fractions. Since they did not have any shelter in which to store their precious products the latter were arranged on tables and boards. Marie could remember the joy they felt when they came into the shed at night, seeing "from all sides the feebly luminous silhouettes" of the products of their work. The dangerous gases of which Marie speaks contained, among other things, radon the radioactive gas which is a matter of concern to us today since small amounts are emitted from certain kinds of building materials. Wilhelm Ostwald, the highly respected German chemist, who was one of the first to realize the importance of the Curies' research, traveled from Berlin to Paris to see how they worked. Neither Pierre nor Marie was at home. He wrote: "At my earnest request, I was shown the laboratory where radium had been discovered shortly before.... It was a cross between a stable and a potato shed, and if I had not seen the worktable and items of chemical apparatus, I would have thought that I was been played a practical joke."

Marie Presents Her Doctoral Thesis

At the same time as the Curies were engaged in their arduous work, each of them had their teaching duties. From 1900 Marie had had a part-time teaching post at the cole Normale Suprieur de Svres for girls. After thousands of crystallizations, Marie finally - from several tons of the original material - isolated one decigram of almost pure radium chloride and had determined radium's atomic weight as 225. She presented the findings of this work in her doctoral thesis on June 25, 1903. Of the three members of the examination committee, two were to receive the Nobel Prize a few years later: Lippmann, her former teacher, in 1908 for physics, and Moissan, in 1906 for chemistry. The committee expressed the opinion that the findings represented the greatest scientific contribution ever made in a doctoral thesis. A little celebration in Marie's honour, was arranged in the evening by a research colleague, Paul Langevin. The guests included Jean Perrin, a prominent professor at the Sorbonne, and Ernest Rutherford, who was then working in Canada but temporarily in Paris and anxious to meet Marie Curie. He had good reason. His study of the deflection of radiation in magnetic fields had not met with success until he had been sent a strongly radioactive preparation by the Curies. By that time he was already famous and was soon to be considered as the greatest experimental physicist of the day. It was a warmish evening and the group went out into the garden. Pierre had prepared an effective finale to the day. When they had all sat down, he drew from his waistcoat pocket a little tube, partly coated with zinc sulfide, which contained a quantity of radium salt in solution. Suddenly the tube became luminous, lighting up the darkness, and the group stared at the display in wonder, quietly and solemnly. But in the light from the tube, Rutherford saw that Pierre's fingers were scarred and inflamed and that he was finding it hard to hold the tube.

Serious Health Problems

A week earlier Marie and Pierre had been invited to the Royal Institution in London where Pierre gave a lecture.

Before the crowded auditorium he showed how radium rapidly affected photographic plates wrapped in paper, how the substance gave off heat; in the semi-darkness he demonstrated the spectacular light effect. He described the medical tests he had tried out on himself. He had wrapped a sample of radium salts in a thin rubber covering and bound it to his arm for ten hours, then had studied the wound, which resembled a burn, day by day. After 52 days a permanent grey scar remained. In that connection Pierre mentioned the possibility of radium being able to be used in the treatment of cancer. But Pierre's scarred hands shook so that once he happened to spill a little of the costly preparation. Fifty years afterwards the presence of radioactivity was discovered on the premises and certain surfaces had to be cleaned. In actual fact Pierre was ill. His legs shook so that at times he found it hard to stand upright. He was in much pain. He consulted a doctor who diagnosed neurasthenia and prescribed strychnine. And the skin on Marie's fingers was cracked and scarred. Both of them constantly suffered from fatigue. They evidently had no idea that radiation could have a detrimental effect on their general state of health. Pierre, who liked to say that radium had a million times stronger radioactivity than uranium, often carried a sample in his waistcoat pocket to show his friends. Marie liked to have a little radium salt by her bed that shone in the darkness. The papers they left behind them give off pronounced radioactivity. If today at the Bibliothque Nationale you want to consult the three black notebooks in which their work from December 1897 and the three following years is recorded, you have to sign a certificate that you do so at your own risk. People will have to do this for a long time to come. In fact it takes 1,620 years before the activity of radium is reduced to a half. Rutherford was just as unsuspecting in regard to the hazards as were the Curies. When it turned out that one of his colleagues who had worked with radioactive substances for several months was able to discharge an electroscope by exhaling, Rutherford expressed his delight. This confirmed his theory of the existence of airborne emanations. In view of the potential for the use of radium in medicine, factories began to be built in the USA for its largescale production. The question came up of whether or not Marie and Pierre should apply for a patent for the production process. They were both against doing so. Pure research should be carried out for its own sake and must not become mixed up with industry's profit motive. Researchers should be disinterested and make their findings available to everyone. Marie and Pierre were generous in supplying their fellow researchers, Rutherford included, with the preparations they had so laboriously produced. They furnished industry with descriptions of the production process.

Nobel Prize
In 1903, Marie and Pierre Curie were awarded half the Nobel Prize in Physics. The citation was, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel." Henri Becquerel was awarded the other half for his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity. In a letter to the Swedish Academy of Sciences, Pierre explains that neither of them is able to come to Stockholm to receive the prize. They could not get away because of their teaching obligations. He adds, "Mme Curie has been ill this summer and is not yet completely recovered." That was certaintly true but his own health was no better. Not until June 1905 did they go to Stockholm, where Pierre

gave a Nobel lecture. At the prize award ceremony, the president of the Swedish Academy referred in his speech to the old proverb: "union gives strength." He went on to quote from the Book of Genesis, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Although the Nobel Prize alleviated their financial worries, the Curies now suddenly found themselves the focus of the interest of the public and the press. Their seemingly romantic story, their labours in intolerable conditions, the remarkable new element which could disintegrate and give off heat from what was apparently an inexhaustible source, all these things made the reports into fairy-tales. At the center was Marie, a frail woman who with a gigantic wand had ground down tons of pitchblende in order to extract a tiny amount of a magical element. Even Le Figaro, otherwise a sensible newspaper, began with "Once upon a time..." They were pursued by journalists from the whole world - a situation they could not deal with. Marie wrote, "The shattering of our voluntary isolation was a cause of real suffering for us and had all the effects of disaster." Pierre wrote in July 1905, "A whole year has passed since I was able to do any work.... evidently I have not found the way of defending us against frittering away our time, and yet it is very necessary. It is a question of life or death from the intellectual point of view." But as Elisabeth Crawford emphasizes in her book The Beginnings of the Nobel Institution, from the latter's viewpoint, the awarding of the 1903 Prize for Physics was masterly. Formerly, only the Prize for Literature and the Peace Prize had obtained wide press coverage; the Prizes for scientific subjects had been considered all too esoteric to be able to interest the general public. The commotion centered on the award of the Prize to the Curies, especially Marie Curie, aroused once and for all the curiosity of the press and the public. The work of researchers was exciting, their findings fascinating. The health of both Marie and Pierre Curie gave rise to concern. Their friends tried to make them work less. All their symptoms were ascribed to the drafty shed and to overexertion. Their dearest wish was to have a new laboratory but no such laboratory was in prospect. When Paul Appell, the dean of the faculty of sciences, appealed to Pierre to let his name be put forward as a recipient for the prestigious Legion of Honor on July 14,1903, Pierre replied, "....I do not feel the slightest need of being decorated, but I am in the greatest need of a laboratory." Although Pierre was given a chair at the Sorbonne in 1904 with the promise of a laboratory, as late as 1906 it had still not begun to be built. Pierre was given access to some rooms in a building used for study by young medical students. Pierre Curie never obtained a real laboratory.

Dreadful Catastrophe
On April 19, 1906, Pierre Curie was run over by a horse-drawn wagon near the Pont Neuf in Paris and killed. Now Marie was left alone with two daughters, Irne aged 9 and ve aged 2. Shock broke her down totally to begin with. But even now she could draw on the toughness and perseverance that were fundamental aspects of her character. When she was offered a pension, she refused it: I am 38 and able to support myself, was her answer. She was appointed to succeed Pierre as the head of the laboratory, being undoubtedly most suitable, and to be responsible for his teaching duties. She thus became the first woman ever appointed to teach at the Sorbonne. After some months, in November 1906, she gave her first lecture. The large amphitheater was

packed. As well as students, her audience included people from far and near, journalists and photographers were in attendance. Many people had expected something unusual to occur. Perhaps some manifestation of the historic occasion. When Marie entered, thin, pale and tense, she was met by an ovation. However the expectations of something other than a clear and factual lecture on physics were not fulfilled. But Marie's personality, her aura of simplicity and competence made a great impression. Irne was now 9 years old. Marie had definite ideas about the upbringing and education of children that she now wanted to put into practice. Her circle of friends consisted of a small group of professors with children of school age. Marie organized a private school with the parents themselves acting as teachers. A group of some ten children were accordingly taught only by prominent professors: Jean Perrin, Paul Langevin, douard Chavannes, a professor of Chinese, Henri Mouton from the Pasteur Institute, a sculptor was engaged for modeling and drawing. Marie took the view that scientific subjects should be taught at an early age but not according to a too rigid curriculum. It was important for children to be able to develop freely. Games and physical activities took up much of the time. Quite a lot of time was taken for travel, too, for the children had to travel to the homes of their teachers, to Marie at Sceaux or to Langevin's lessons in one of the Paris suburbs. The little group became a kind of school for the elite with a great emphasis on science. The children involved say that they have happy memories of that time. For Irne it was in those years that the foundation of her development into a researcher was laid. The educational experiment lasted two years. Subsequently the pupils had to prepare for their forthcoming baccalaurat exam and to follow the traditional educational programs.

A Second Nobel Prize

In 1908 Marie, as the first woman ever, was appointed to become a professor at the Sorbonne. She went on to produce several decigrams of very pure radium chloride before finally, in collaboration with Andr Debierne, she was able to isolate radium in metallic form. Andr Debierne, who began as a laboratory assistant, became her faithful collaborator until her death and then succeeded her as head of the laboratory. In 1911 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The citation by the Nobel Committee was, "in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element." Now that the archives have been made available to the public, it is possible to study in detail the events surrounding the awarding of the two Prizes, in 1903 and 1911. In a letter in 1903, several members of the l'Acadmie des Sciences, including Henri Poincar and Gaston Darboux, had nominated Becquerel and Pierre Curie for the Prize in Physics. Marie's name was not mentioned. This caused Gsta Mittag-Leffler, a professor of mathematics at Stockholm University College, to write to Pierre Curie. That letter has never survived but Pierre Curie's answer, dated August 6, 1903, has been preserved. He wrote, "If it is true that one is seriously thinking about me (for the Prize), I very much wish to be considered together with Madame Curie with respect to our research on radioactive bodies." Drawing attention to the role she played in the discovery of radium and polonium, he added, "Do you not think that it would be more satisfying from the artistic point of view, if we were to be associated in this manner?" (plus joli d'un point de vue artistique). Some biographers have questioned whether Marie deserved the Prize for Chemistry in 1911. They have

claimed that the discoveries of radium and polonium were part of the reason for the Prize in 1903, even though this was not stated explicitly. Marie was said to have been awarded the Prize again for the same discovery, the award possibly being an expression of sympathy for reasons that will be mentioned below. Actually, however, the citation for the Prize in 1903 was worded deliberately with a view to a future Prize in Chemistry. Chemists considered that the discovery and isolation of radium was the greatest event in chemistry since the discovery of oxygen. That for the first time in history it could be shown that an element could be transmuted into another element, revolutionized chemistry and signified a new epoch.

A Terrible Year
Rejected by the Academy
Despite the second Nobel Prize and an invitation to the first Solvay Conference with the world's leading physicists, including Einstein, Poincar and Planck, 1911 became a dark year in Marie's life. In two smear campaigns she was to experience the inconstancy of the French press. The first was started on 16 November 1910, when, by an article in Le Figaro, it became known that she was willing to be nominated for election to l'Acadmie des Sciences. Examples of factors other than merit deciding an election did exist, but Marie herself and her eminent research colleagues seemed to have considered that with her exceptionally brilliant scientific merits, her election was self-evident. Notwithstanding, it turned out that it was not merit that was decisive. The dark underlying currents of anti-Semitism, prejudice against women, xenophobia and even anti-science attitudes that existed in French society came welling up to the surface. Normally the election was of no interest to the press. The most rabid paper was the ultra-nationalistic and anti-Semitic L'Action Franaise, which was led by Lon Daudet, the son of the writer Alphonse Daudet. Dreyfus had got redress for his wrongs in 1906 and had been decorated with the Legion of Honour, but in the eyes of the groups who had been against him during his trial, he was still guilty, was still "the Jewish traitor." The pro-Dreyfus groups who had supported his cause were suspect and the scientists who were supporting Marie were among them. Jokes in bad taste alternated with outrageous accusations. It was said that in her career, Pierre's research had given her a free ride. She came from Poland, though admittedly she was formally a Catholic but her name Sklodowska indicated that she might be of Jewish origin, and so on. A week before the election, an opposing candidate, douard Branly, was launched. The vote on January 23, 1911 was taken in the presence of journalists, photographers and hordes of the curious. The election took place in a tumultuous atmosphere. In the first round Marie lost by one vote, in the second by two. In all, fifty-eight votes were cast. A Nobel Prize in 1903 and support from prominent researchers such as Jean Perrin, Henri Poincar, Paul Appell and the permanent secretary of the Acadmie, Gaston Darboux, were not sufficient to make the Acadmie open its doors. This event attracted international attention and indignation. It deeply wounded both Marie and indeed douard Branly, too, himself a well-merited researcher.

The Langevin Affair

However, Marie's tribulations were not at an end. When, at the beginning of November 1911, Marie went to Belgium, being invited with the world's most eminent physicists to attend the first Solvay Conference, she received a message that a new campaign had started in the press. Now it was a matter of her private life and her relations with her colleague Paul Langevin, who had also been invited to the conference. He had had marital

problems for several years and had moved from his suburban home to a small apartment in Paris. Marie was depicted as the reason. Both were described in slanderous terms. The scandal developed dramatically. Marie stands up in her own defence and managed to force an apology from the newspaper Le Temps. The same day she received word from Stockholm that she had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. However, the very newspapers that made her a legend when she received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, now completely ignored the fact that she had been awarded the Prize in Chemistry or merely reported it in a few words on an inside page. The Langevin scandal escalated into a serious affair that shook the university world in Paris and the French government at the highest level. Madame Langevin was preparing legal action to obtain custody of the four children. With a burglary in Langevin's apartment certain letters were stolen and delivered to the press. Lon Daudet made the whole thing into a new Dreyfus affair. Day after day Marie had to run the gauntlet in the newspapers: an alien, a Polish woman, a researcher supported by our French scientists, had come and stolen an honest French woman's husband. Daudet quoted Fouquier-Tinville's notorious words that during the Revolution had sent the chemist Lavoisier to the guillotine: "The Republic does not need any scientists." Marie's friends immediately backed her up. Jean Perrin, Henri Poincar and mile Borel appealed to the publishers of the newspapers. Henri Poincar's cousin, Raymond Poincar, a senior lawyer who was to become President of France in a few years time, was engaged as advisor. But the scandal kept up its impetus with headlines on the first pages such as "Madame Curie, can she still remain a professor at the Sorbonne?" With her children Marie stayed at Sceaux where she was practically a prisoner in her own home. Her friends feared that she would collapse. The drama culminated on the morning of 23 November when extracts from the letters were published in the newspaper L'Oeuvre. There was no proof of the accusations made against Marie and the authenticity of the letters could be questioned but in the heated atmosphere there were few who thought clearly. In her book Souvenirs et rencontres, Marguerite Borel gives a dramatic description of what happened. mile Borel was extremely indignant and acted quickly. Marie had to be fetched from Sceaux and live with them until the storm was over. Marguerite and Andr Debierne went out to Sceaux where they found a hostile and angry crowd gathered outside Marie's home. Someone shouted, "Go home to Poland." A stone hit the house. Having managed to persuade Marie to go with them, they guided her, holding ve by the hand, through the crowd. Marie sat stiff and deathly pale throughout their journey. Marguerite wanted to take her hand, but did not venture to do so. On their return, Marie and ve were installed in two rooms in the Borels' home. Henriette Perrin looks after Irne. But the Borels' home was owned by the cole Normale Suprieure and mile Borel was called up to the Minister of Education (Thodore Steeg, le ministre de l'Instruction publique) who informed him that he had no right to let Marie Curie stay in his home. It would cast a shadow on the cole Normale. If Borel persisted in keeping his guest, he would be dismissed. "So be it then, I shall persist," was Borel's answer. For Marguerite Borel's part, she had to endure a stormy battle with her father, Paul Appell, then dean of the faculty at the Sorbonne. He was furious that the Borels have gotten mixed up in the matter. He revealed that with several other influential people he was planning an interview with Marie in order to request her to leave France: her situation in Paris was impossible. "I have done everything for her, I have supported her candidature to the Acadmie, but I cannot hold back the flood now engulfing her." Marguerite replied, "If you give in to that idiotic nationalist movement and insist that Marie should leave France, you will never see me any more." Appell, who was in the process of putting on his shoes, threw one of them to hit the door - but the interview with Marie did not take place. Langevin who had been repeatedly insulted, then felt forced to challenge Gustave Try, the editor of the newspaper that printed the letters, to a duel. Fighting a duel was a usual way of obtaining

satisfaction in France at that time, although scarcely in academic circles. Newspaper publishers who had come up against each other in this dispute had already fought duels. Swords were generally used and a duellist was usually content with inflicting a thorough scratch on his opponent for the duel to be considered decided. But fatal accidents did in fact occur. Langevin found it hard to find seconds, but managed to persuade Paul Painlev, a mathematician and later Prime Minister, and the director of the School of Physics and Chemistry. The duel, with pistols at a distance of 25 meters, was to take place on the morning of November 25. Painlev, not being used to the routines, surprised everyone present by beginning to count in a loud voice unusually quickly: one, two, three. Try did not raise his pistol. Langevin, who had first raised his, then lowered it. No shot was fired. The journalists wrote about the silence and about the pigeons quietly feeding on the field. In the midst of all its gravity, the duel had turned into a farce. However, the publication of the letters and the duel were too much for those responsible at the Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Marie received a letter from a member, Svante Arrhenius, in which he said that the duel had given the impression that the published correspondence had not been falsified. He asked her to cable that she would not be coming to the prize award ceremony and to write him a letter to the effect that she did not want to accept the Prize until the Langevin court proceedings had shown that the accusations against her were absolutely without foundation. Of those most closely affected, the person who remained levelheaded despite the enormous strain of the critical situation was in fact Marie herself. In a well-formulated and matter-of-fact reply, she pointed out that she had been awarded the Prize for her discovery of radium and polonium, and that she could not accept the principle that appreciation of the value of scientific work should be influenced by slander concerning a researcher's private life. On December 6, Langevin wrote a long letter to Svante Arrhenius, whom he had met previously. He described the whole situation, explained what circles were behind the smear campaign. He appealed to the Nobel Committee not to let it be influenced by a campaign which was fundamentally unjust. Nor, in fact, was it so influenced. Marie gathered all her strength and gave her Nobel lecture on December 11 in Stockholm. The lecture should be read in the light of what she had gone through. She made clear by her choice of words what were unequivocally her contributions in the collaboration with Pierre. She spoke of the field of research which "I have called radioactivity" and "my hypothesis that radioactivity is an atomic property," but without detracting from his contributions. She declared that she also regarded this Prize as a tribute to Pierre Curie. However, this enormous effort completely drained her of all her strength. She sank into a depressed state. On December 29, she was taken to a hospital whose location was kept secret for her protection. When she had recovered to some extent, she traveled to England, where a friend, the physicist Hertha Ayrton, looked after her and saw that the press was kept away. A whole year passed before she could work as she had done before. In her book, Marguerite Borel quotes Jean Perrin's words, 'But for the five of us who stood up for Marie Curie against a whole world when a landslide of filth engulfed her, Marie would have returned to Poland and we would have been marked by eternal shame.' The five were Jean and Henriette Perrin, mile and Marguerite Borel and Andr Debierne. Legal proceedings were never taken. Langevin and his wife reached a settlement on 9 December without Marie's name being mentioned. We shall never know with any certainty what was the nature of the relationship

between Marie Curie and Paul Langevin. It is referred to by Paul Langevin's son, Andr Langevin, in his biography of his father, which was published in 1971. He writes, "Is it not rather natural that friendship and mutual admiration several years after Pierre's death could develop step by step into a passion and a relationship?" It can be added as a footnote that Paul Langevin's grandson, Michel (now deceased), and Marie's granddaughter, Hlne, later married. Hlne Langevin-Joliot is a nuclear physicist and has made a close study of Marie and Pierre Curie's notebooks so as to obtain a picture of how their collaboration functioned. Marie had opened up a completely new field of research: radioactivity. Various aspects of it were being studied all over the world. In Uppsala Daniel Strmholm, professor of chemistry, and The Svedberg, then associate professor, investigated the chemistry of the radioactive elements. In 1909 they were close to the discovery of isotopes. However it was the British physicist Frederick Soddy who in the following year, finally clarified the concept of isotopes. Marie's laboratory became the Mecca for radium research. Eva Ramstedt, who took a doctorate in physics in Uppsala in 1910, studied with Marie Curie in 1910-11 and was later associate professor in radiology at Stockholm University College in 1915-32. The Norwegian chemist Ellen Gleditsch worked with Marie Curie in 1907-1912.

When, in 1914, Marie was in the process of beginning to lead one of the departments in the Radium Institute established jointly by the University of Paris and the Pasteur Institute, the First World War broke out. Marie placed her two daughters, Irne aged 17 and ve aged 10, in safety in Brittany. She herself took a train to Bordeaux, a train overloaded with people leaving Paris for a safer refuge. But Marie had a different reason for her journey. She had with her a heavy, 20-kg lead container in which she had placed her valuable radium. Once in Bordeaux the other passengers rushed away to their various destinations. She remained standing there with her heavy bag which she did not have the strength to carry without assistance. Some official finally helped her find a room where she slept with her heavy bag by her bed. The next day, having had the bag taken to a bank vault, she took a train back to Paris. It was now crowded to bursting point with soldiers. Throughout the war she was engaged intensively in equipping more than 20 vans that acted as mobile field hospitals and about 200 fixed installations with X-ray apparatus.

Marie driving one of the radiology cars in 1917.

She trained young women in simple X-ray technology, she herself drove one of the vans and took an active part in locating metal splinters. Sometimes she found she had to give the doctors lessons in elementary geometry. Irne, when 18, became involved, and in the primitive conditions both of them were exposed to large doses of radiation. After the Peace Treaty in 1918, her Radium Institute, which had been completed in 1914, could now be opened. It became France's most internationally celebrated research institute in the inter-war years. Even so, as her French biographer Franoise Giroud points out, the French state did not do much in the way of supporting her. In the USA radium was manufactured industrially but at a price which Marie could not afford. She had to devote a lot of time to fund-raising for her Institute. She also became deeply involved when she had become a member of the Commission for Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations and served as its vice-president for a time. She frequently took part in its meetings in Geneva, where she also met the Swedish delegate, Anna Wicksell.

Marie regularly refused all those who wanted to interview her. However, a prominent American female journalist, Marie Maloney, known as Missy, who for a long time had admired Marie, managed to meet her. This meeting became of great importance to them both. Marie told Missy that researchers in the USA had some 50 grams of radium at their disposal. "And in France, then?" asked Missy. "My laboratory has scarcely more than one gram," was Marie's answer. "But you ought to have all the resources in the world to continue with your research. Someone must see to that," Missy said. "But who?" was Marie's reply in a resigned tone. "The women of America," promised Missy. Missy, like Marie herself, had an enormous strength and strong inner stamina under a frail exterior. She now arranged one of the largest and most successful research-funding campaigns the world has seen. First of all she got the New York papers to promise not to print a word on the Langevin affair and - so as to feel safe unbelievably enough managed to take over all their material on the Langevin affair. Due to the press, Marie became enormously popular in America, and everyone seemed to want to meet her - the great Madame Curie. Missy had to struggle hard to get Marie to accept a program for her visit on a par with the campaign. Finally, she had to turn to Paul Appell, now the university chancellor, to persuade Marie. In spite of her diffidence and distaste for publicity, Marie agreed to go to America to receive the gift - a single gram of radium - from the hand of President Warren Harding. "I understand that it will be of the greatest value for my Institute," she wrote to Missy. When all this became known in France, the paper Je sais tout arranged a gala performance at the Paris Opera. It was attended by the most prominent personalities in France, including Aristide Briand, then Foreign Minister, who was later, in 1926, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Jean Perrin made a speech about Marie's contribution and the promises for the future that her discoveries gave. The great Sarah Bernhardt read an "Ode to Madame Curie" with allusions to her as the sister of Prometheus. After being dragged through the mud ten

years before, she had become a modern Jeanne d'Arc.

Missy Maloney, Irne, Marie and ve Curie in the USA.

Photo kindly provided by William Brown Maloney Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, USA.

Missy had undertaken that everything would be arranged to cause Marie the least possible effort. In spite of this Marie had to attend innumerable receptions and do a round of American universities. Outwardly the trip was one great triumphal procession. She became the recipient of some twenty distinctions in the form of honorary doctorates, medals and membership in academies. Great crowds paid homage to her. But for Marie herself, this was torment. Where possible, she had her two daughters represent her. Marie and Missy became close friends. The inexhaustible Missy organized further collections for one gram of radium for an institute which Marie had helped found in Warsaw. Marie's second journey to America ended only a few days before the great stock exchange crash in 1929. In the last ten years of her life, Marie had the joy of seeing her daughter Irne and her son-in-law Frdric Joliot do successful research in the laboratory. She lived to see their discovery of artificial radioactivity, but not to hear that they had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for it in 1935. Marie Curie died of leukemia on July 4, 1934.

It is worth mentioning that the new discoveries at the end of the nineteenth century became of importance also for the breakthrough of modern art. X-ray photography focused art on the invisible. The human body became dissolved in a shimmering mist. Wassily Kandinsky, one of the pioneers of abstract painting, wrote about radioactivity in his autobiographical notes from 1901-13. He claimed that in his soul the decay of the atom was synonymous with the decay of the whole world. The thickest walls had suddenly collapsed. Everything had become uncertain, unsteady and fluid. He would not have been surprised if a stone had been pulverized in the

air before him and become invisible. For the physicists of Marie Curie's day, the new discoveries were no less revolutionary. Although admittedly the world did not decay, what nevertheless did was the classical, deterministic view of the world. Radioactive decay, that heat is given off from an invisible and apparently inexhaustible source, that radioactive elements are transformed into new elements just as in the ancient dreams of alchemists of the possibility of making gold, all these things contravened the most entrenched principles of classical physics. For radioactivity to be understood, the development of quantum mechanics was required. But it should be noted that the birth of quantum mechanics was not initiated by the study of radioactivity but by Max Planck's study of radiation from a black body in 1900. It was an old field that was not the object of the same interest and publicity as the new spectacular discoveries. It was not until 1928, more than a quarter of a century later, that the type of radioactivity that is called alpha-decay obtained its theoretical explanation. It is an example of the tunnel effect in quantum mechanics. Much has changed in the conditions under which researchers work since Marie and Pierre Curie worked in a drafty shed and refused to consider taking out a patent as being incompatible with their view of the role of researchers; a patent would nevertheless have facilitated their research and spared their health. But in one respect, the situation remains unchanged. Nature holds on just as hard to its really profound secrets, and it is just as difficult to predict where the answers to fundamental questions are to be found.

Names Mentioned in the Text

Appell, Paul (1855-1930), mathematician Arrhenius, Svante (1859-1927), Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1903 Ayrton, Hertha (1854-1923), English physicist Becquerel, Henri (1852-1908), Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 Borel, mile (1871-1956), mathematician Borel, Marguerite, author, married to mile Borel Branly, douard (1844-1940), physicist Briand, Aristide (1862-1932), eminent French statesman, Nobel Peace Prize 1926 Brillouin, Marcel (1854-1948), theoretical physicist Darboux, Gaston (1842-1917), mathematician Daudet, Lon (1867-1942), editor of L'Action Franaise Debierne, Andr (1874-1949), Marie Curie's colleague for many years Einstein, Albert (1879-1955), Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 Giroud, Franoise (1916- ), author, former minister Gleditsch, Ellen (1879-1968), chemist Hertz, Heinrich (1857-1894), physicist

Langevin, Paul (1872-1946