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Transcript of MARIE CURIE
Marie Curie was a woman of science and courage, that was kind and compassionate, but yet stubbornly determined. It was this determination that led to the discovery of both polonium and radium in the year 1898.
"One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done."
Discovery of Two New Elements
Impact on our Current Understanding of the Atom
Marie Curie discovered polonium with her husband Pierre Curie in the year 1898 whilst she was working in France. It was the first element they came across whilst investigating the cause of pitchblende radioactivity.
At the time of its discovery they wrote, '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."
The research completed by the Curies played a crucial role in the development of x-rays.
The work completed by Becquerel and the Curies led to other scientists beginning to think that the current atomic theory was unattainable.
Building on the research done by Marie Curie as well as other people, scientists began to realise that if atoms could emit things like radiation, they couldn't possibly be indivisible and unchangeable like previously thought. They also came to realise and understand that atoms are made up of smaller particles that can be rearranged.
Although Marie Curie didn't have a direct impact on our understanding of the structure of the atom, if it wasn't for the research and work she completed, we may not have developed our current ideas and have the amount of comprehension on the subject as we do today.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
By: Emily Bull
ABOUT MARIE CURIE
Impact on the Current Atomic Theory
Born Marie Sklodowska on November the 7th in 1867 in Warsaw Poland. Both of her parents were teachers and greatly believed in the value of education. Marie got her first chemistry and physics lessons from her father and later moved to France when she was 24 for the purpose of further studies. She went on to become a French physicist, famous for her discovery of two new elements; polonium and radium, as well as being known for her work with radioactivity and her contribution in the fight against cancer.
During her lifetime Marie Curie became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, and the only female to win the award in two separate fields; physics and chemistry.
Whilst working with her husband, Pierre Curie, they made the miraculous discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. After her husband Pierre died, x-rays were developed.
During the late 1920's Marie Curie's health began to deteriorate and she later died on the 4th of July in 1943 in Passy, Haute-Savoie, France . The cause of her death was leukaemia, a result of the amount of high-energy radiation she was exposed to throughout her research.
Although Marie Curie didn't have a direct and substantial impact on the atomic theory, it was through her work with radioactivity that she made a revolutionary discovery.
When Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium, they found that it spontaneously disintegrated into other elements. This helped Marie to draw to the conclusion that the ability for something to radiate doesn't depend on the arrangement of atoms in a molecule like originally thought, but rather linked to the interior of the atom itself.
Her study of the rays emitted from a variety of different uranium compounds confirmed Becquerel's conclusion that the minerals with a larger amount of radium produced stronger waves. However, Marie Curie went beyond these studies to form her current and revolutionary hypothesis.
The work of Marie and Pierre Curie also paved the way to the modern understanding of the atom as an entity can be split to release a great amount of energy.
Through the discovery of radium, Marie Curie led the way for future nuclear physics and cancer therapy.
HISTORY OF THE ATOM
Technology Used to Aid her Discoveries
Marie Curie was fascinated with the work of Henri Becquerel. Henri was a French-physicist who found out that uranium casts off rays. This discovery inspired the Curies to work in a field opened up by Wilhelm Roentgen's discovery of x-rays.
Marie was also accredited with the discovery that the ability to emit radiation doesn't depend on the arrangement within a molecule, but rather on the interior of an atom.
Through the discovery of radium, Marie Curie paved the way for nuclear physics and cancer patients. Her work was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery and during World War One she helped to equip the ambulances with this x-ray equipment.
Henri Becquerel had discovered that when uranium rays passed through the air whilst near a measuring instrument, the device would detect a difference. Marie Curie used this discovery along with the 'Curie electrometer' developed by Pierre Curie and his brother, Jacques to discover radium.
Through the measurement of the rays emitted from various uranium compounds, she made the discovery that the intensity of the rays depended on the amount of uranium atoms in a substance. She found that the mineral pitchblende was more radioactive and she was convinced that an analysis of it would uncover a new radioactive element. To separate the different substances found in pitchblende, the Curies used standard chemical procedures. After the element had been split into different compounds, they used the Curie electrometer to find which one was the most radioactive. They would continue to separate them until they found the unknown element by its radioactivity. They ended up not only discovering one radioactive element, but two; polonium and radium. Polonium was very similar to the already known bismuth, just as radium was similar to barium. The only difference was that each was strongly radioactive.
"I am among those who think that science has a great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impresses him like a fairy tale."