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his was very strange. Normal properties, color or smell or hardness, changed according to how you treated a substance. Scientists of the time knew that such properties came from the way atoms combined with one another. The atoms themselves, most scientists believed, had all been created at the beginning of time, and could not possibly change. Marie puzzled over this, trying out every possible idea. Perhaps, she suspected, something was happening inside uranium atoms that gave rise to rays.

And not only inside uranium. Trying out various chemicals, Marie found that
compounds that contained an uncommon element, thorium, also gave off rays. To describe the behavior of these two elements, Marie made up the term “radioactivity.”

A lump of pitchblende.
arie got another surprise as she pushed through more compounds. The mineral pitchblende, rich in uranium, gave off more radioactivity than could be accounted for by the uranium in it (and there was no thorium). She figured the pitchblende must contain another element, fiercely radioactive, and never seen before. The promise of a strange new element was so exciting that Pierre put aside his work on crystals to help speed up the discovery. They worked as a team, each responsible for a specific task.

Read what Marie wrote here.quotes image

A page from Curie's lab notebook
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