Marie Curie's Notebooks

Marie Curie's Notebooks


More than a century later, Marie Curie's notebooks have to be stored in a lead box, as they are still radioactive (and will be for another 1,500 years).


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Marie Curie, known as the 'mother of modern physics', died from aplastic anemia, a rare condition linked to high levels of exposure to her famed discoveries, the radioactive elements polonium and radium.

Still, after more than 100 years, much of Curie's personal effects including her clothes, furniture, cookbooks, and laboratory notes are still radioactive, author Bill Bryson writes in his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Regarded as national and scientific treasures, Curie's laboratory notebooks are stored in lead-lined boxes at France's Bibliotheque National in Paris.

While the library grants access to visitors to view Curie's manuscripts, all guests are expected to sign a liability waiver and wear protective gear as the items are contaminated with radium 226, which has a half-life of about 1,600 years, according to Christian Science Monitor.

Her body is also radioactive and was therefore placed in a coffin lined with nearly an inch of lead. The Curie's are buried in France's Panthéon, a mausoleum in Paris which contains the remains of distinguished French citizens - like philosophers Rousseau and Voltaire.


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