"On a New Radioactive Substance Contained in Pitchblende" Curie, Pierre and Curie, Marie S. (1898)
"On a New Radioactive Substance Contained in Pitchblende"
Pierre Curie and Marie S. Curie (1898)
SITE SUMMARY: This paper reveals the step by step research by the Curies that led to their discovery of radium and to their being awarded, with M. Becquerel, the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. This paper was published in the Comptes Rendus, no. 127. This translation was partly done by Carmen Giunta of the faculty of Lemoyne College, Syracuse University, New York, for this Web page (part of the Classic Papers in Chemistry Web site, whose url is cited in this book's Appendix B).
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
- Which minerals did the Curies say are very active, and from which point of view? What is probable if certain minerals are more active than uranium? (Hints: See the beginning of the Paper for the answer to the first question. Scroll down a bit for the answer to the second question.)
- What does "the property of emitting rays" of uranium and thorium compounds do? What does it have to do with the active metal in each compound? What is of secondary importance?
- What guided the Curies' research? How? What resulted?
- What did the Curies discover when they analyzed some pitchblende and compared what they discovered to uranium? With what did they treat the pitchblende then? What main thing was verified? What was not found? What was accomplished but incomplete, and how did they judge it with some facts involving pitchblende?
- By the Curies repeating different operations, what did they finally obtain, and what was its relation to uranium? What did they examine and seek, then what did they find out about uranium, thorium, and tantalum?
- What did the Curies come to believe that involved pitchblende? What did they suggest if their belief was verified?
- What were the two curious results of the examination of the spectrum of the substance that the Curies were investigating?
- What did the Curies suggest that their discovery, if confirmed, be attributed to?
- What was the Curies' research "guided constantly by"?
- 10. As the Curies did their research, they concluded that they had found a new substance. Why? What did they name it? Identify the two ways of naming a chemical substance. Extra Activity: Imagine you have discovered a new chemical substance. How would you name it, first if you followed the way the Curies named what they discovered, and then if you named it the way that their discovery was eventually named?
RELATED INTERNET SITE(S)
"Radioactive Substances, Especially Radium"—Nobel Lecture by Pierre Curie
On this Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 Recipients Page, click the Nobel Lecture link under Pierre Curie to get to this lecture, presented on June 6, 1905, available in PDF format.
"Marie Curie and Pierre Curie on the Discovery of Polonium and Uranium" (1996)
On this Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 Recipients Page, click the article link under Marie Curie or Pierre Curie for this lecture that was presented by Nanny Froman of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, on February 28, 1996. See also links to biographies under Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, and other resources under Marie Curie.
The Curies: The Very Model of Modern Spousal Collaboration
This newsletter item appeared in the American Physical Society's APS News Online (June 1996). It features comments on the collaboration of the Curies as a wife and husband research team.
Curie at the Exploratorium—A Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception
http://www.exploratorium.edu (do a search in the search box on upper right of page)
Do a search for Curie, then click Web page links that appear and feature the word Curie.