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Joliot-Curie, Irène

radioactivity war french novel

[zholyoh küree] (1897–1956) French nuclear physicist: co-discoverer of artificially-induced radioactivity.

Irène, daughter of , had a unique education; she was taught at home, in physics by her mother, in maths and in chemistry . In the First World War she served as a radiographer, then inadequately protected against radiation; later, she became a victim, like her mother, of leukaemia, fairly certainly because of exposure to radiation, which eventually killed them both.

In the 1930s she did notable work on artificial radioactivity with her husband , for which they shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935. In the Second World War she escaped to Switzerland and in 1946 became director of the Radium Institute and a director of the French Atomic Energy Commission. Her work in the 1930s with Joliot led them in late 1933 to make the first artificial radioelement by bombarding aluminium with alpha-particles (helium nuclei, ), which gave a novel radioisotope of phosphorus. Similar methods then led them and others to make a range of novel radioisotopes, some of which have proved of great value in research, in medicine and in industry.

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