Pierre Curie. A great Physicist

1. On April, 19, 1906, the scientists of all countries were shocked on the news of Pierre Curie having become the victim of a road accident. Since then the importance of Curie’s discoveries has grown to an immeasurable extent, his findings having been included in all physics text throughout the world. They are known to have the foundation for several branches of industry and, first and foremost, the atomic industry. This is why scientists and public opinion as a whole throughout the world honour the memory of this remarkable French scientist.
2. Pierre Curie, the son of a doctor of moderate means, was born on May, 15, 1859. His father, who took interest in natural sciences, exercised a great influence on the choice of his son’s future career. At the age of 18 the talented youth started work as a laboratory assistant at the Sorbonne University. In 1895 he was already a well-known scientist with a doctor’s degree. It was then that he married his colleague Marie Sclodowska, who became his scientific associate. Their joint work in the study of radioactivity which led to the discovery of radium is widely known all the world over. In 1904 they were both awarded the Nobel Prize which was at that time the highest scientific recognition.
3. Pierre Curie’s principal work was in the fields of electricity, magnetism and radioactivity, his first studies being on the physics of crystals and on piezoelectricity. At the time his remarkable discoveries in this branch of science were made, the very term “physics of crystals” was as yet unknown. Pierre Curie established a direct connection between the symmetry of crystals and their physical properties, which resulted in the discovery of the piezoelectric properties of crystals. This discovery opened a way to an extremely wide field of technique enabling scientists to transform mechanical forces into electrical ones and vice versa. Underwater and atmospheric sound emitters are now based on piezoelectrical transformers.
4. The joint work of Pierre Curie and his wife Marie Sclodowska in the field of radioactivity has now led to the discovery of methods for using atomic energy for peaceful purposes. This is the great service rendered by the two scientists to science and mankind as a whole.
5. At the beginning of the 20th century Pierre Curie realized what great reserves of energy were contained in radium. But he also realized that this power could be used by some not for the good of people but for their ruin.
  On being awarded the Nobel Prize, he said “Radium could prove extremely dangerous if it fell into criminal hands” and he called on scientists to use the discovery of radioactivity for peaceful purposes alone.

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