Google Doodle celebrates the 140th birthday of Romanian physicist Stefania Maracineanu, one of the pioneers in the discovery and research of radioactivity.
Google Doodle celebrates every important occasion in its own way, be it birthdays, festivals or other events. Today, June 18, Google Doodle celebrates the 140th birthday of Romanian physicist Stefania Maracineanu. “Today’s Doodle honors Ștefania Mărăcineanu’s 140th birthday and pays tribute to her legacy,” according to Google. Today’s artwork shows Maracineanu working on Polonium (Po) in a chemistry lab. It is known that Stefania Maracineanu was one of the pioneering women in the discovery and research of radioactivity. Here’s everything you need to know about Stefania Maracineanu.
About Stefania Maracineanu
Maracineanu graduated in 1910 with a degree in physical and chemical sciences and started her career as a teacher at the Central School for Girls in Bucharest. While there, Maracineanu earned a scholarship from the Romanian Ministry of Science. She decided to do graduate research at the Radium Institute in Paris. The Radium Institute was quickly becoming a global center for the study of radioactivity under the direction of physicist Marie Curie. Maracineanu began work on her dissertation on polonium, an element Curie discovered.
While researching the half-life of polonium, Maracineanu noticed that the half-life seemed to depend on the type of metal it was placed on. This made her wonder if the alpha rays from the polonium had transferred some of the metal’s atoms into radioactive isotopes. Her research led to what is probably the first example of artificial radioactivity. Also read: Google Drive, DropBox FORBIDDEN for Government Employees! Know why
Maracineanu enrolled at the Sorbonne University in Paris to complete her doctorate in physics, which she obtained in just two years! After working for four years at the Astronomical Observatory in Meudon, she returned to Romania and founded the first laboratory in her homeland for the study of radioactivity.
Maracineanu devoted her time to researching artificial rain, including a trip to Algeria to test her results. She also studied the link between earthquakes and rainfall and became the first to report a significant increase in radioactivity at the epicenter prior to an earthquake.
In 1935, Marie Curie’s daughter, Irene Currie, and her husband were awarded a joint Nobel Prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. Maracineanu did not contest the Nobel Prize, but asked for recognition of her role in the discovery. Maracineanu’s work was recognized in 1936 by the Academy of Sciences of Romania, where she was chosen as research director, but she never received worldwide recognition for the discovery. The Curie Museum in Paris contains the original chemical laboratory in the Radium Institute, where Maracineanu worked.