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In a 1903 letter to swedish mathematician Magnus Goesta Mittag-Leffler, Pierre wrote, “If the is true that one is serious thinking about me , I really much wish to it is in considered in addition to Madame Curie v respect to our research study on radiation bodies.”

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The Nobel Prize and also Its Aftermath

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ARIE WAS no REALLY NOMINATED because that her an initial Nobel Prize. Native the inception of the award in 1901, the Nobel Prizes have actually been made after a an extensive evaluation that the merits of nominees. In 1903 the French Academy of sciences nominated Henri Becquerel and also Pierre -- yet not Marie -- Curie together candidates for the physics prize. If not for the treatment of a member the the nominating committee, swedish mathematician Magnus Goesta Mittag-Leffler, Marie could have to be denied recognition for she work. However Mittag-Leffler, an support of ladies scientists, created Pierre advising him of the situation. In his reply Pierre do clear the a Nobel prize for study in radioactivity the failed to identify Marie"s pivotal function would be a travesty. Part strings were pulled, and also a nomination of Marie Curie in 1902 to be validated because that 1903.

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In December 1903, Becquerel and also both Curies were awarded the Nobel Prize because that Physics. The Curies" citation was very closely worded come avoid certain mention that their discovery of polonium and also radium. Chemistry on the nominating committee had insisted the the Curies could in the future worthy a Nobel Prize because that Chemistry because that their exploration of those elements. And there stayed some doubts about the elements, which had been isolated just in invisibly little amounts. For this reason their physics prize mentioned only their collaborative job-related on Becquerel rays.

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The certificate for the Curies" 1903 Nobel Prize because that Physics cited “their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.” (Photo ACJC)

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By the moment Pierre take it up his duties together a professor at the Sorbonne, where he is displayed here teaching, that complained of having only “a very feeble capacity for work.” (Photo ACJC)

READ Curie"s words

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HE CURIES FELT too ILL and also TOO BUSY to take trip to Stockholm because that the awards ceremony the December (besides, Pierre depised ceremonies and publicity). Nobel laureates, however, were forced to current a great describing your work"s importance. In June 1905 the Curies ultimately made the trip. Practice dictated the Pierre provide the lecture, yet he was mindful to distinguish in between Marie"s live independence work and their joint efforts. After surveying the science of radioactivity, he included a cautionary note. Radium, like other scientific and technological discoveries (such as Nobel"s explosives), can prove very dangerous in the not correct hands, “and here we must ask ourselves if humankind can advantage by learning the tricks of nature...or if this understanding will not be harmful come the world.” but he ended his talk optimistically.

“I am one of those who believe with Nobel that mankind will derive more good than injury from the brand-new discoveries.”--Pierre Curie, Award address for 1903 Nobel Prize because that Physics

Not surprisingly, the award lugged changes in the Curies" lives. The prize money was an extremely useful. They offered some that it come cover the prices of dealing with pitchblende, and also they could hire a paid lab assistant for the an initial time. Pierre"s scientific accomplishment was lastly acknowledged in his native nation with an meeting to a professorship at the Sorbonne. Yet it was only after Pierre rubbish the an initial offer, which come without provisions for a lab, the the university dug increase the crucial funds. Marie, because that the an initial time in she career, would have both a title--chief of laboratory--and a college salary. “It was no without regret that us left the college of Physics,” she recalled, “where we had actually known together happy work-related days, regardless of their attendant difficulties.” back Pierre started his brand-new position in the autumn of 1904, the laboratory was not actually completed till 1906. Marie remained sensitive to this slights against Pierre"s dignity.

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took A hefty TOLL top top the Curies in the wake of their new international acclaim. Accustomed to functioning quietly and also without distraction in your lab, they were currently prey come journalists and also photographers, who pursued them both in ~ work and also at home. Not also six-year-old Ir�ne was safe from their prying eyes. Pierre discovered that the undesirable intrusions damaged his productivity. Although he had actually published 25 papers between July 1898 and June 1904, he published nothing in the following two years. Also his choice in July 1905 come the French Academy that Sciences, which had rejected his candidacy earlier, did little to enhance his frame of mind.

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The expectant mom with Irène and Pierre in your garden, 1904 (Photo ACJC)

“A totality year has actually passed because I had the ability to do any work, and also I have not one moment to myself.” --letter indigenous Pierre Curie to physicist friend Georges Gouy, July 1905

Marie, too, complained around the lose of privacy. Yet having too lot to perform seemed come energize, no enervate, her. In December 1904, a month ~ their relocate to the Sorbonne, the Curies" younger daughter, Eve, to be born. Back Marie took part time turn off from her experienced commitments, she quickly resumed both her research and her teaching at the teachers" training academy for females at S�vres. While very closely rationing the moment she would invest with journalists, she check to define to the public what the brand-new discoveries meant.

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She even found time for museums and also concerts, where Pierre joined her without enthusiasm.

Next: Tragedy and Adjustment Also: “Radium and also Radioactivity” by Marie Curie, 1904