On this date in 1898, Pierre and Marie Curie successfully isolated a new element – radium. Separating radium from the rest of the radioactive combination made it possible to use it for therapeutic purposes.
Element 88 was not the first to be discovered by the Curies. They had discovered element 84, polonium, and named it in honor of Marie’s country of birth, Poland.
The Curies would go on to win a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 for their discovery, making Marie the first woman to be a recipient of a Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, Pierre died in 1906, but Marie went on to win a second Nobel Prize in 1911, this time in the field of Chemistry.
Curium, element 96, is named in their honor, as well as the international measurement for radioactivity, the curie.
In Marie’s honor, here is Homann’s 1720 map of Poland.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.