November 2017: 150th Anniversary of Marie Curie’s Birth
On 7 November, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Marie Curie’s birth. Marie Curie was a Polish scientist who, along with her husband, discovered both polonium and radium for which they won a Nobel Prize in Physics. This made Marie the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. After her husband died, she continued making significant scientific advances in radioactivity, winning yet another Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry. Her discoveries have led to major developments in the medical world. Marie organized mobile X-ray teams during the first World War, often delivering the machines to the front lines herself, and she is considered the founder of radioactive treatment for tumours.
Today, radioactivity still plays a huge part in cancer treatments, as well as in X-rays used for medical purposes and security systems and in producing energy. Building on Marie Curie’s discoveries, modern researchers have developed improved methods of utilizing radioactivity, using materials such as cobalt, indium, and iodine. In addition to the radioactive materials used, several metals play a major role in the construction on modern machines used to scan for cancer such as PET and CT scanners. Common metals used for such medical equipment are aluminium, titanium, copper, and tungsten.