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Radioactivity. The Discovery By:Kaitlin Shorr and Tara Monaghan . Henri Becquerel: Biography. Full Birth Name: Antoine Henri Becquerel Born: December 15, 1852, in Paris, France Died: August 25, 1908 Field: Nuclear Science Physics Occupation: physicist

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The Discovery

By:Kaitlin Shorr and Tara Monaghan

henri becquerel biography
Henri Becquerel: Biography
  • Full Birth Name: Antoine Henri Becquerel
  • Born: December 15, 1852, in Paris, France
  • Died: August 25, 1908
  • Field: Nuclear Science Physics
  • Occupation: physicist
  • Education: École Polytechnique, École des Ponts et Chaussées
  • 1897- researched the newly discovered x-rays which led him to the phenomenon of radioactivity.
henri becquerel s scientific work
Henri Becquerel’s Scientific Work
  • Becquerel's earliest work: was with the concern of plane polarization of light, with the phenomenon of phosphorescence and with the absorption of light by crystals (his doctorate thesis).
  • He also worked on the subject of terrestrial magnetism.
  • In 1896, his previous work overshadowed his discovery of the phenomenon of natural radioactivity.
henri becquerel s discovery
Henri Becquerel's Discovery
  • 1896: he used naturally fluorescent minerals to study the properties of x-rays.
  • He exposed potassium uranyl sulfate to sunlight and then placed it on photographic plates wrapped in black paper.
  • He believed that the uranium absorbed the sun’s energy and then emitted it as x-rays.
  • A couple days went by and he tested it again by putting the uranium in a closed door with the photographic plate.
  • It left a clear strong image on the photographic plate.
  • When his experiment was disproved( 26th and 27th of February) he tested anyway and it proved that uranium emitted radiation with the source of the sun.
  • He had, after his findings, discovered that uranium could produce a picture on the photographic plate without light, radioactivity.
becquerel apparatus
Becquerel Apparatus
  • used an apparatus to show that the radiation he discovered could not be x-rays.
  • x-rays are neutral and cannot be bent in a magnetic field.
  • new radiation was bent by the magnetic field so that the radiation must be charged and different than x-rays.
  • when different radioactive substances were put in the magnetic field, they deflected in different directions or not at all.
  • showed that there were three classes of radioactivity: negative, positive, and electrically neutral.
pierre curie biography
Pierre Curie: Biography
  • Born: On May 15, 1859, in Paris, France
  • Died: April 19, 1906
  • Education: Faculty of Sciences at Sorbonne and got his doctorate the year he married Marie.
  • Before he and his brother, Jacques, distinguished themselves in the study of the properties of crystals.
  • In 1882, Pierre had headed the laboratory at the Ecole de Physique et de Chimie Industrielle in Paris.
pierre curie s scientific work
Pierre Curie’s Scientific Work
  • studied the properties of crystals
    • discovered piezoelectricity
  • studied the magnetic properties of materials
  • constructed a torsion balance with a tolerance of 0.01 mg
  • discovered Weiss-Curie’s Law
  • discovered Curie temperature
marie curie biography
Marie Curie: Biography
  • Born: As Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland on November 7, 1867
  • Died: July 4, 1934
  • Education: spent many years as a teacher and governess; joined her sister, Bronia, in Paris to study mathematics and physics at Sorbonne
  • earned degrees in both mathematics and physics in 1893 and 94
  • met physicist, Pierre Curie, and got married (1895)
  • had two children, Irene (1897) and Eve (1904).
marie curies s discovery
Marie Curies’sDiscovery
  • Marie
    • decided to study the mysterious radiation Becquerel had discovered
    • measured the strength of the radiation emitted from uranium compounds and found it proportional to the uranium content, constant over a long period of time, and uninfluenced by external conditions
  • detected a similar immutable radiation in the compounds of thorium
made the unexpected discovery that uranium pitchblende and the mineral chalcolite emitted about four times as much radiation as could be expected from their uranium content
  • concluded that pitchblende contains a small amount of an unknown radiating element

Pierre Joins Marie in her work

  • Used an electrometer to search for new substances which uses the level of radioactivity to determine the strength of the current
  • discovered two new spontaneously radiating elements, which they name polonium and radium.
  • colleague, Andre Debierne, discovered actinium
  • began the task of isolating these elements so that their chemical properties could be determined.
awards won
Awards Won
  • the Curies and Becquerel
    • Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of radioactivity
  • Marie Curie
    • Nobel Prize in chemistry for isolating radium
"Pierre Curie - Biographical." Pierre Curie - Biographical. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.
  • "Henri Becquerel - Facts." Henri Becquerel - Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.
  • "Pierre and Marie Curie." Pierre and Marie Curie. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.
  • "Marie Curie and the History of Radioactivity." - Online Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2013. <>.