Irene Joliot Curie (12 September 1897 – 17 March 1956) was a French chemist, physicist, and politician. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of induced radioactivity.

Early Life

She was born on 12 September 1897, in Paris, France. She received her education at various institutions in France. She attended the College Sevigne, a private school in Paris, before entering the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Paris, where she initially studied mathematics.

After her marriage to Frédéric Joliot in 1926, she continued her studies at the Faculty of Sciences and earned her doctorate in physics in 1925, with a thesis on the absorption of alpha particles by gases.

Joliot-Curie’s education and scientific training were heavily influenced by her parents, Pierre and Marie Curie, both of whom were renowned physicists and chemists. As a child, she was exposed to the world of science through her parents’ work, and she continued to learn from them as she pursued her own career in physics.

Major Contributions

She made significant contributions to the field of nuclear physics, particularly in the study of nuclear transmutations and artificial radioactivity. Together with her husband Frédéric Joliot, she discovered that certain elements could be made radioactive by bombarding them with alpha particles and that these artificially created isotopes could be used in medical applications such as cancer treatment. They also synthesized several new radioactive elements, including phosphorus-30, aluminum-28, and silicon-31.

Joliot-Curie was the first woman to become a professor at the Faculty of Science in Paris, and she played a key role in the establishment of the French Atomic Energy Commission after World War II. She also served as the director of the Radium Institute, which had been founded by her mother Marie Curie, from 1946 until her death in 1956.

Joliot-Curie was a strong advocate for women’s rights and was involved in various feminist and pacifist organizations throughout her life. She was also a member of the French Communist Party and supported the Soviet Union, which led to her being targeted by the French authorities during the Cold War. Nevertheless, she continued to work in her field and made significant contributions to the development of nuclear energy in France.

He died on 17 March 1956 in Paris, France.

Award and Legacy

She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 with Frédéric Joliot, for their discovery of induced radioactivity.

She was also awarded the French Legion of Honor and the Soviet Order of Lenin for her contributions to science.

Joliot-Curie’s work helped to lay the foundation for future research and discoveries in the field of nuclear physics, and her legacy continues to inspire women in science and engineering today.

The Irène Joliot-Curie Award is a prestigious French award given annually to women who have made significant contributions to science and technology. The award was established in 2001 by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and it is named in honor of Irène Joliot-Curie and her pioneering work in nuclear physics.

19 March: Remembering Frederic Joliot Curie on Birthday

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