Marie Curie Discovered Radium

December 21, 2021

On December 21st, 1898, the husband and wife duo Marie and Pierre Curie discovered Radium. Their radioactive discovery came after years of tinkering with different crystals and Magnesium. Their discovery would shape the future as we know it today. 

Pierre met his wife while she was a student at the School of Physics in Paris. At the time, Mr. Curie was a professor at the institution. The two love birds quickly wed in 1895. It is worth noting that a close colleague of the couple’s, Henri Becquerel, played a crucial role in discovering Radium. It is his presentation that caught Marie’s eye and got the ball rolling.

Radium was first discovered as radium chloride. Marie and Pierre managed to extract the compound from Uraninite. The first step in the process was to extract Radium Chloride from the Uraninite. After separating the two compounds, the couple discovered that the remaining matter was still radioactive. To find out which element was emitting the deadly radiation, they further analyzed the substance. They soon discovered that Radium was the radioactive element they were seeking. The couple also found unfamiliar spectral lines; Crimson Carmine. The spectral lines were later proven to be invariably emitted by the Radium Chloride.

Armed with their discovery, the new couple made a stunning presentation to the French Academy of Sciences, and five years later, they were awarded the most prestigious prize in the world— the Nobel Peace Prize. Marie Curie would be the first woman to win the coveted award. She went on to win a second Nobel peace prize for her works in Chemistry, becoming the first person to achieve this feat of excellence.

2 Comments

  1. Bridget Guccione

    There is an error in your piece about Marie Curie discovering Radium. She won the Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry. She did not win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Reply
  2. Ev

    The Nobels were for physics and chemistry, of course.

    Reply

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