Traveling with the Atom

Allegheny College

(compiled by Dr.Glen E. Rodgers)

 
 
 

Pierre Curie
French Physicist
(1859-1906)
Marie and Pierre in their laboratory

 
Contribution to the Development of the Atomic Concept
Pierre Curie discovered the elements polonium and radium that he and his wife isolated as the chloride salts from the tailings of a uranium mine in St. Joachimsthal (Czech Republic).  One ton of this uranium-depleted pitchblende ore yielded 0.1 gram of radium chloride.  For this work they shared (with Antoine Becquerel) the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. Pierre Curie also invented the electrometer, discovered piezoelectricity, and did significant research in magnetic studies.  The Curie law describes the temperature dependence of paramagnetism.

 
Web Sources of Biographical Information
Pierre Curie discovers piezoelectricity (1880)
On a new, strongly radioactive substance, contained in pitchblende, Pierre Curie, Marie Sklodowska Curie, and G. Bémont
"Marie and Pierre Curie and the Discovery of Polonium and Radium", by Nanny Fröman
Nobel Prize site

 
 
Selected Biographical Books, Sections of Books, and Articles
Full biographical information on Sacks' book Uncle Tungsten pp 254-267; 281
Full biographical information on Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 2nd Ed. pp 580-581
Marie & Pierre Curie (Pocket Biographies) by John E. Senior Pierre Curie
by Anna Hurwic (out of print)

 
 
 
Some Scientific/Historical Traveling Sites
Marie Curie's office and laboratory.  Equipment built by Pierre and Marie as well as Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie Musee Curie at the Curie Institute, 11, rue Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris(1)
Pioneers of Radioactivity Walking Tour; the pamphlet describing the tour says "we'll follow in the footsteps of the French pioneers of radioactivity.  Starts the Museum national d'histoire naturelle, . . . strolling in the shadow of the Pantheon, arriving at the College de France;  (cont'd at right) Parcours des sciences
6, rue, Louis-Thuillier - 75005 Paris
Tel 01 44 32 40 87
 

includes Institut du radium, the Becquerel laboratory, and the house were Pierre Curie was born

Site of laboratory shed where Pierre and Marie worked to isolate polonium and radium rue Vauquelin, 500 meters south of the present Institute, marked by a commemorative plaque(1)
Plaque marked the site of the apartment where Marie and Pierre were living at the time and where their daughter Irene was born in 1897 24 rue de la Glaciere (on the other side of the Seine, close to the observatory)(1)
Street where Pierre was killed by a horse-drawn carriage Rue Dauphine(1)
The graves of Pierre and Marie; they were moved here in 1997 Paris Pantheon, in the Latin Quarter of Paris near the Institut Curie
Quartz-piezoelectrometer devised by Pierre Curie and used by the Curies in their work(4) Abbe Cabinet in the reception area of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mutter Museum, 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA
* see following Rodgers link to scientific/historical sites for further information.
(1) Taken from The Scientific Traveler, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1992).
(2) Taken from A Trael Guide to Scientific Sites of the British Isles, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1995).
(3) Taken from Guide of Eurpoean Museums with collections on History of Chemistry, compiled by Jan W. van Spronsen, Federation of European Societies, Antwerp (1996)
(4) Taken from  America's Scientific Treasures, A Travel Companion, Paul S. Cohen and Brenda H. Cohen, American Chemical Society, Washington (1998).

Link to Dr. Rodgers' Scientific/Historical Site on the Curies.
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