Google honors Romanian physicist Ștefania Mărăcineanu with doodle

Google honors Romanian physicist Ștefania Mărăcineanu with doodle

Jun 18, 2022, 11:37 am
2 min read

Marie Curie’s daughter won the Nobel Prize based on Ștefania Mărăcineanu’s work, but the latter did not earn global recognition. (Photo credit: Google)

You heard of Marie Curie, but probably not of Ștefania Mărăcineanu.

She was also one of the pioneering women in the discovery and research of radioactivity.

On her 140th birth anniversary, Google is honoring her legacy with a doodle today.

The Curie Museum still has the original chemical laboratory in the Radium Institute, where Ștefania Mărăcineanu worked, in Paris.

Romania’s first laboratory for radioactivity studies

Mărăcineanu finished her PhD in physics, from Sorbonne University in Paris, worked at the Astronomical Observatory in Meudon for four years, and returned home.

She founded Romania’s first laboratory for radioactivity studies.

Mărăcineanu researched artificial rain and the link between earthquakes and rainfall.

She was the first to report that there’s a high increase in radioactivity in the epicenter leading up to an earthquake.

Research at Radium Institute

Mărăcineanu’s education and work

The Roman physicist graduated with a physical and chemical science degree in 1910 and started her career teaching at the Central School for Girls in Bucharest.

With a scholarship from the Romanian Ministry of Science, Mărăcineanu pursued graduate research at the Radium Institute in Paris.

Here, she studied polonium’s half-life and established methods for monitoring alpha decay, which later proved to be highly crucial.

The Radium Institute known for its radioactivity studies was fast developing under the direction of physicist Marie Curie and Mărăcineanu began working on her Ph.D. thesis on polonium here.

Her research led to probably the first example of artificial radioactivity, as she discovered the half-life of the element discovered by Madam Curie, depended on the type of metal it was placed upon.

Never received global recognition

The Nobel row

In 1935, Irène Currie, Marie Curie’s daughter, and her husband received a joint Nobel prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity.

Mărăcineanu asked for her role in the discovery to be recognized. It was recognized by the Academy of Sciences of Romania the following year.

She was then elected to serve as a Director of Research but never received global recognition for the discovery.

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