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Research work of Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie for The Nobel Prize in Chemistry,1911

Presented by : ashish




Curie An Introduction.

Double Nobel Laureate. Radioactivity.

The Discoveries.
Polonium. Radium.

Isolation of Radium .
Uses. Harmful Radioactivity. Bibliography.


Madame Curie An Introduction

Birth: November 7, 1867 - Warsaw, Poland.

Family: Pierre Curie, Irene Joliot-Curie, Eve Curie. Native Country: Poland. Adopted Country: France.

Scientific fields: Physics, Chemistry.

Contributions: Radioactivity, Radium, Polonium. Death: July 4, 1934 Passy, Haute-Novae, France.


Double Nobel Laureate

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 was divided, one half awarded to Antoine Henri Becquerel "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity", the other half jointly to Pierre Curie and Marie Curie, ne Sklodowska "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel".

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1911 was awarded to Marie Curie "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".



Henri Becquerels Uranic Rays Henri Becquerel had observed that uranium compounds gave off certain invisible rays which could penetrate opaque objects and affect photographic plates. He

named them uranic rays.

The term Radio-activity While working on uranic rays for her Doctoral thesis, Madame Curie coined the term radio-active rays and hence, called the phenomenon of emitting these invisible rays as radio-activity. Thorium While studying various compounds for radioactivity, Madame Curie found

Thorium to be radioactive too.


The Discoveries

Pitchblende Ore While studying the pitchblende ore, Madame Curie found to it to be more radioactive than uranium and hypothesized that it contained at least 3 previously unknown elements, which were much much more radioactive than Uranium and

Polonium On 18th July, 1898, Polonium was discovered by the Curies and named in the honour of Poland, Madame Curies native country. Radium On 26th December, 1898, Radium was discovered and named after the latin word for ray.



Name Symbol

Polonium Po

Atomic number
Group number Group Block Half Life of 208Po Half Life of 209Po Half Life of 210Po

16 Metal p 2.898 years 103 years 138.37 days

Melting Point
Boiling Point Electronic Configuration

527 K
1235 K [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p4



Name Symbol Atomic number Group number Group Block Half life of 226Ra Half life of 228Ra Boiling Point Melting Point Electronic Configuration

Radium Ra 88 2 Alkaline earth metal s 1602 years 6.7 years 973 K 2010 K [Rn] 7s2


Isolation of Radium

Extraction of radiferous Barium Sulphate. Conversion of sulphate to chloride. Separation of radium chloride from barium chloride. Activity measurements. Spectroscopic confirmation. Electrolysis of Radium chloride.


Uses of Radium


Used in medical radioisotopes. Used as a gamma ray source.

Used to produce neutrons.


Uses of Polonium


Polonium is also used in anti-static brushes to eliminate dust on photographic film. It is sealed in brushes to control the radioactive emissions. Can be used as a lightweight heat source for thermoelectric power in space satellites.

Can be mixed or alloyed with Beryllium to provide a source of neutrons.

Polonium is used to eliminate static electricity produced during processes such as rolling paper, wire and sheet metal.


Harmful radioactivity Deaths of five "Radium Girl" employees who had used radium-based luminous paints on the dials of watches. Madame Curie, herself died of aplastic anemia, due to long term exposure to radioactivity. Irene Joliot-Curie, died of leukemia, 10 years after a capsule of polonium exploded on her bench.


Poloniums harmful radioactivity has also been used to a murder weapon.


A few Curies Quotes


Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something. Nothing in life is to be feared. It is to be understood. We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct

usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science.



Radiochemistry and the Discovery of Isotopes (New York: Dover, 1970), A. Dover


End of Presentation