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 )
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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
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.
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.
Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'
reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'
Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'
Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'
Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.
NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'
Medical Assistant Robot May Roam The Halls Of Hospitals
'Take care, sir.'
No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'
As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'
Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'
Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...'
Amplified Nerves Lead To Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hands
'The electrical impulses generated by your brain command everything...'
FlyCroTug Micro Drones Do Heavy Lifting
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock on...'
Virtual Whitney Houston In Concert
Robot Teaches Itself To Walk
'My whole idea is to get away from a machine with a set of prearranged instructions, and let them teach themselves by trial and error.'
DARPA's Subterranean Challenge
Let the machines explore the underground city!
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories