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Pierre Curie, a French physicist, was one of the pioneers in magnetism, crystallography, radioactivity, and piezoelectricity. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics together with his wife for their discovery of two new elements.
See the fact file below for more information on the Pierre Curie or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Pierre Curie worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Pierre Curie was born on May 15, 1859, in Paris.
- Curie was homeschooled by his father, a doctor, before enrolling in the Faculty of Sciences at the Sorbonne.
- At 14, Pierre presented an aptitude for spatial geometry and a passion for mathematics.
- When he was 16, he received his degree in Math and continued to earn a higher degree. In 1878, he received his licence ès sciences in Physics.
- He then worked as a laboratory instructor in the laboratory of Jean-Gustave Bourbouze.
- Pierre Curie became in charge of all practical work in the Physics and Industrial Chemistry Schools at the Sorbonne.
CAREER AND CONTRIBUTIONS
- In 1800, Pierre worked with his brother Jacques to demonstrate that compressing crystals generated electric potential.
- The siblings then invented the piezoelectric quartz electrometer.
- The next year, they showed the effect of reversing this process, that an electric field can deform crystals.
- Pierre also worked on magnetism, which involved delicate equipment including electrometers and balances.
- He defined the Curie Scale with these subsequent works.
- Pierre Curie’s fellow physicist and friend, Józef Wierusz-Kowalski, introduced him to Maria Sklodowska.
- Pierre took her as his student in his laboratory.
- He soon developed an admiration and love for Marie and started regarding her as his muse.
- Although Marie initially refused his proposal, she and Pierre ended up having a civil wedding.
- Pierre Curie was also credited in designing and perfecting a torsion balance with extreme sensitivity, used to measure magnetic coefficients.
- Marie convinced Pierre to finally finish his doctorate.
- He studied diamagnetism, ferromagnetism, and paramagnetism for his doctoral thesis.
- This led him to discover what is now known as Curie’s Law, which gives the effect of temperature on paramagnetism.
- Pierre also discovered that ferromagnetic substances lose their ferromagnetic behavior at a critical temperature. This is now called the Curie temperature.
- Pierre Curie also formulated the Curie Dissymmetry Principle, which states that a physical effect cannot have a dissymmetry absent from its efficient cause.
- In 1895, he gained his Doctor of Science degree and was employed as a Professor of Physics.
- Pierre also worked with his wife. They discovered radium and polonium. The couple also coined the term “radioactivity” and became pioneers in its study.
- They completed their works in radioactivity even though their laboratory facilities were barely adequate, while also teaching for their livelihood.
- Using pitchblende and fractionating it, they isolated polonium and radium and announced their findings in 1898.
- They also did further research to learn the properties of radium, including the products it produces after decaying.
- Pierre was also able to prove the existence of electrically charged particles as an effect of magnetic fields on the rays of radium. Ernest Rutherford later called these alpha, beta, and gamma rays.
- Pierre also conducted experiments on these rays using calorimetry, observing radium’s physiological effects.
- In 1900, he was made Professor in the Faculty of Sciences. He then became a Titular Professor in 1904 at the Sorbonne.
- Pierre Curie was nominated for the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics but insisted on including his wife, Marie, to also be a recipient of the award.
- The Committee recognized Marie Curie’s work and gave her the prize along with her husband and Henri Becquerel, for their study on spontaneous radiation.
- Pierre was also awarded the Davy Medal in 1903, together with Marie.
- In 1905, he was promoted to the Academy of Sciences.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- Pierre and Marie Curie had two daughters, Irène and Ève.
- Irène also took on a scientific career, while Ève became a journalist.
- Their grandchildren also became scientists.
- In 1904, the couple also received the Matteucci Medal.
- On April 19, 1906, Pierre Curie died on the busy street of Rue Dauphine at Quai de Conti.
- He was crossing the street on a rainy day when he slipped and fell under a hefty horse-drawn cart, which crushed him, instantly killing him.
- Marie was devastated and dedicated her time to research and honoring her husband. She built a world-class laboratory at the Sorbonne, honoring Pierre.
- In 1909, Pierre was posthumously awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal during the award ceremony of the same medal to Marie.
- In the 1910 Radiology Congress, the unit of radioactivity (3.7 × 1010 decays per second or 37 gigabecquerels) was named curie in honor of Pierre.
- Because the Curies did not have a proper laboratory, they suffered radium burns, voluntarily and accidentally. They were also unprotected against massive doses of radiation while doing their research.
- Many think that if Pierre had not died the way he did, it is very likely that he would have died due to radiation exposure, as did Marie, in 1934 because of aplastic anemia.
- Both Pierre and Marie were initially buried in a family cemetery. In April 1995, their tombs were moved and enshrined in the crypt of Paris’ Pantheon.
- Pierre and his brother’s research on piezoelectricity is now used as a basis for crystal oscillations in almost all digital electronic circuits.
- The Curie temperature, from Pierre’s thesis, is used today to treat hypothermia, study plate tectonics, measure caffeine, and study extraterrestrial magnetic fields.
Pierre Curie Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Pierre Curie across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pierre Curie worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Pierre Curie, a French physicist, who was one of the pioneers in magnetism, crystallography, radioactivity, and piezoelectricity. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics together with his wife for their discovery of two new elements.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Origin Of Pierre
- Pierre and Magnetism
- Pierre’s Learnings
- Radioactive Love
- Elemental News
- Reactive Family
- Rising Curie
- Cookie Madness
- Thought for Pierre
- Radio in the Lab
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Link will appear as Pierre Curie Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 1, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
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