Marie Curie's Papers Still Radioactive

Even after more than one hundred years, Marie Curie's scientific papers - and even her cookbooks - are still radioactive and are kept in lead-lined boxes.

If you'd like to examine her papers at the Pierre and Marie Curie collection at France's Bibliotheque National, you're welcome to do so, but only after you sign a waiver of liability and don protective clothing.


(Marie Curie at her desk, with papers)

Along with her husband and collaborator, Pierre, Marie Curie lived her life awash in ionizing radiation. She would carry bottles of the polonium and radium in the pocket of her coat and store them in her desk drawer. In his 2008 book "The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914" historian Philipp Blom quotes Marie Curie's autobiographical notes, in which she describes the mysterious blue-green lights in her lab:

"One of our joys was to go into our workroom at night; we then perceived on all sides the feebly luminous silhouettes of the bottles of capsules containing our products. It was really a lovely sight and one always new to us. The glowing tubes looked like faint, fairy lights."

I was surprised to recall that, even as late as 1956, Robert Heinlein (who certainly understood the dangers of radioactive materials) suggested that personal checks could use a (presumably very low level) of radiation as a way of coding:

One real improvement I had not appreciated up to then was the universal checkbook system; with a single cybernet as clearinghouse for the whole city and radioactive coding on my checkbook, I got cash laid in my palm as quickly there as I could have gotten it at my home bank across from Hired Girl, Inc.
(radioactive coding for checks from The Door Into Summer [1956])

From Christian Science Monitor.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/5/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Misc ")

Is There A Subterranean Ocean?
'A vast, limitless expanse of water, the end of a lake if not of an ocean, spread before us, until it was lost in the distance.'- Jules Verne, 1864.

The Robotic Shopping Cart Of The Future
'...the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'- John Brunner, 1975.

Arctic Resource Jackpot An Old Wish
By inducing climate change, new resources are revealed.

Marie Curie's Papers Still Radioactive
And the half-life of radium's most common isotope is 1,601 years.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

ESA Space Claw To Grab Space Junk
Now, where have I seen this idea before?

Airport Security Now Using Predator-Style Heat Vision Helmets
'Want some candy?'

'Black Friday' Online Shopping - In 1899!
'In your days they showed you a fashion-plate,' said the tailor, 'but this is our modern development.'

DARPA's Virtual Caves Explored By Virtual Robots
'If there's anything in here worth looking at, these pups'll find it.'

Glass Dome Cities On Mars, Dreamed By Elon Musk
'They will have flung great arches and domes of glass above the wider spaces...'

Kuka Robot 'Heidi' Paints With Artificial Intelligence
Robots make art for man.

Looking Glass Display Good Enough For Science Fiction, Fantasy
'The figure seemed to be swimming toward the surface.'

Do You Need The Entire Fembot? Maybe Just The Hand
'...Men don't want real women anymore. You and I are behind the times...'

3D Printing With Sunlight And Sand
'We made a crude, small cell and were delighted...'

Samsung Gets Transparent Smartphone Patent
The Transparency of Things to Come

Monkey Gets A Bigger Brain, Thanks To Human Gene
'It's a madhouse! a madhouse!'

Solar Power Beamed From Space Studied By Brit Boffins
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun.'

Pandemic Entrepreneurs! Consider Robo Esso Robot Barista
'... the perpetual beam carved in the robot face of the bartender, the classic Irish grin.'

Shape-Shifting Robot From MIT
'... the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Tesla's 20,000 Superchargers
'To recharge the batteries, which can be done in almost every town and village...'

Smallest Rogue Planet Discovered In Milky Way
'...a swarm of rogue planets chanced by.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.