Irene Joliot-Curie: photo and biography of the Nobel Prize winner

Irene Joliot-Curie - world-famous physicist, Nobel Prize winner, the daughter of scientists Pierre and the main colleague of the woman was her husband - Frederic Joliot. Today we will get acquainted with the biography of Irene Joliot-Curie, photos and interesting facts from her life.

Irene Joliot-Curie

a brief description of

As a daughter of scientists, Nobel Prize winners, Irene Curie from childhood was in the scientific community, which formed her love of physics. Starting a career as a junior research assistant at the Paris Institute of Radium, which was created by the parents of Curie, she soon became his supervisor. Here the girl met Frederic Joliot, who became her husband and chief employee. They made many discoveries together, including the one that led Irene Joliot-Curie to the Nobel Prize.


The future Nobel Prize laureate Irene Joliot-Curie (before the wedding simply Curie) was born in Paris, September 12, 1897. Growing up girls held in the circle of the best minds of France.Her parents devoted their lives to physics, or rather to the question of radioactivity. When Irene was a few months old, her mother stood on the threshold of the discovery of radium. The girl developed very rapidly, but was shy. She was jealous of her mother for work and was angry when she spent hours enthusiastically conducting her experiments. After a hard day's work, Irene forced her mother to go to the market and buy something for her.

When Pierre Curie died in 1906, his father Eugene Curie began to exert a great influence on the upbringing of the girl. He introduced Irene to botany and natural history. The elder Curie was an atheist and political radical. Obviously, it was he who formed the "left" moods of Irene Curie and contempt for religion.

Irene Joliot-Curie: Biography


Education girls was not quite normal. Mother carefully watched so that Irene and Eva-Denise (her younger sister) developed physically and mentally. Being dissatisfied with classical education, Marie Curie organized her educational cooperative, the lecturers of which were famous French professors and herself. Maria taught physics, and such sciences as mathematics, chemistry, sculpture and languages, she entrusted to colleagues from the Paris Sorbonne. In 10 years, the future legend of France began studying in a cooperative school.Soon she became one of the best students, repeatedly demonstrating excellent knowledge in the field of physics and chemistry.

Two years later, she went to college in Sevin. Before the First World War, she graduated from it. She spent her summer in the mountains or on the beach, often with famous people such as Albert Einstein and his son. She continued her studies at the University of Paris.

Front work

Since the beginning of the war, Marie Curie went to the front, where, with the help of new X-ray equipment, she greatly facilitated the process of diagnosing and treating soldiers. The eldest daughter enthusiastically helped her mother. Soon, Irene began to work independently. Being shy and even antisocial in nature, the girl calmly was in danger.

Younger sister Irene Joliot-Curie

The first steps in science

When the war ended, 21-year-old Irene Curie began working as an assistant researcher at the radium institute headed by her mother. Here, the girl learned to work skillfully with the camera of Wilson - a device that allows you to consider the elementary particles due to the trace of water droplets, which remains along the trajectory of their movement.The first scientific experiments of Irene were devoted to the study of radioactive polonium, an element discovered by the Curie earlier.

Since the phenomenon of radiation was directly related to the splitting of the atom, studying it, scientists hoped to shed light on the structure of the atom. Irene Curie was studying the fluctuations observed during the decay of alpha particles, which are discharged at high speeds during the decay of polonium atoms. In 1925, for success in the study of these particles, Irene Curie received a doctoral degree.

Marriage and collaboration with Frederic Joliot

In 1926, Curie was married to Frederic Joliot, who worked as an assistant at the Radium Institute. In the same year began the most significant study of its ever conducted. In 1930, Walter Bor discovered that a number of light elements, including boron and beryllium, emit strong radiation when attacked by their alpha particles. Irene Joliot-Curie, whose photos are presented in the review, along with her husband became interested in the problems arising from this discovery. They prepared a powerful source of polonium and used the sensitive condensation chamber, designed by Frederick Joliot, to fix the penetrating radiation arising in this reaction.So the couple found that at the moment when a hydrogen-containing plate is placed between the test substance (boron or beryllium) and the detector, the radiation level almost doubles.

Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie

The emergence of this effect Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie explained that the penetrating radiation at the time of the reaction knocks out hydrogen atoms, thereby giving them a significant acceleration. Despite the fact that the couple could not explain the nature of the process, the careful measurements that they carried out became the foundation for the discovery in 1932 by Mr. Chadwick of a neuron, that is, the electrically neutral part of the main number of atomic nuclei.

Nuclear fusion

Continuing to actively engage in research, the couple Joliot-Curie approached the most significant discovery in their careers. Subjecting boron and aluminum to alpha-particle attack, scientists investigated the release of positrons, first discovered in 1932 by the American scientist Anderson. Positrons are particles with a positive charge that are otherwise similar to negatively charged electrons.

Having placed a thin layer of aluminum foil in the detector hole, the couple were able to irradiate the aluminum and boron samples with alpha particles.They were very surprised when they noticed that after removal of the polonium source of alpha particles, the release of positrons continued for several minutes. Developing this topic, the couple came to the conclusion that the particles of boron and aluminum in the studied samples turned into other chemical elements. In addition, these same elements possessed radioactivity. When absorbing 2 protons and 2 neurons of alpha particles, aluminum became radioactive phosphorus, and boron became a radioactive isotope of nitrogen. Using this method, the couple Joliot-Curie for a short time were able to get a lot of new elements.

Irene Joliot-Curie: A Brief Biography

Nobel Prize

In 1934, the couple Joliot-Curie, who always professed anti-fascist and anti-capitalist views, became members of the French Socialist Party, and subsequently joined the ranks of the Communists.

In 1935 they received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for the synthesis of new elements. K.V. Palmayer, speaking at the award ceremony with an introductory speech from the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden, recalled how, 24 years ago at a similar ceremony, Irene was contemplating receiving her mother’s Nobel Prize.Palmyer noted that Irene, in cooperation with her spouse, worthily continues the brilliant family tradition.

Irene Joliot-Curie: photo

Uranium fission

A year after receiving the award, the woman became a professor at the University of Paris, in which she began to lecture in 1932. In parallel, she continued to study radioactivity at the Radium Institute, where she retained her position. In the late 1940s, Joliot-Curie made a number of important discoveries in the study of uranium and came to the conclusion that when attacking by neurons, the uranium atom splits (decays). By repeating these experiments, Otto Hahn, together with his colleagues Fritz Straßmman and Lisa Meitner, were able to achieve the splitting of the uranium atom.

The Second World War

Gradually, Irene Joliot-Curie began to pay more and more attention to politics. In 1936, she worked for four months in the government of Leon Blum as Assistant Secretary of State for Research and Development. Despite the fact that in 1940 Germany occupied France, the couple Joliot-Curie remained in Paris. Frederic Joliot became a member of the Resistance. In 1944, the Gestapo began to follow the scientists, and he had to hide in the underground.His spouse with two children was forced to flee to Switzerland. There they stayed until the liberation of France from the invaders.

Irene Joliot-Curie: biography, photo

Further events

In 1946, Irene replaced her mother as director of the radium institute. In the same year she began working at the Commissariat for Atomic Energy of France, in which she was delayed for 4 years. Concerned about the intellectual and social progress of the weaker sex, Irene was a member of the National Committee of the Union of French Women and the World Peace Council. Together with her husband, she advocated the peaceful use of nuclear energy. During this period, Joliot-Curie visited the Soviet Union several times. It was then that the height of the Cold War was over, and for her political activities, Joliot-Curie was denied membership in the United States Chemical Society.

Last years

The last thing Irene Joliot-Curie, whose biography was the topic of our review, made for science, was to participate in 1955 in creating a large particle accelerator in the laboratory of the town of Orsay, which is located south of Paris. In the mid-60s, Irene’s health was greatly shaken due to radiation, the total dose of which for many years of work exceeded all norms.Like her mother, the woman became ill with blood cancer. On March 17, 1956, she died from this disease. March 21, she was buried in a suburb of Paris.

It is worth noting that the Nobel Prize was the main, but not the only award of Irene Joliot-Curie, whose brief biography we reviewed. During her work in many universities, she was awarded honorary degrees, and was part of many scientific societies. In 1940, she won the Barnard Gold Medal, which is awarded by Columbia University for outstanding achievements. And Irene was a gentleman of the Legion of Honor of France.

The younger sister of Irene Joliot-Curie - Eva Denise Curie - became a famous French and American pianist, writer, journalist, music critic and public figure. In 1937 she published a biographical sketch of the life of Marie Curie, for which she was awarded the American Literary Award. In 1952, Eva Deniz became an adviser to the NATO Secretary General. In 1954 she married Henry Richards Labuass, who in 1965 received the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN Children's Fund for Strengthening Brotherhood between Nations. Thus, sister Irene Joliot-Curie, though remotely, was also involved in the Nobel Prize.

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