Google celebrates 140th birth anniversary of Romanian physicist with Doodle

San Francisco:  Tech giant Google on Saturday paid tribute to Romanian physicist Stefania Maracineanu on her 140th birth anniversary with an artistic and quirky Doodle.

On the Doodle page, the company mentioned that Maracineanu was one of the pioneering women in the discovery and research of radioactivity.

“Today’s Doodle celebrates the Romanian physicist’s 140th Birthday,” the tech giant wrote on the page.

Maracineanu graduated with a physical and chemical science degree in 1910, starting her career as a teacher at the Central School for Girls in Bucharest.

While there, she earned a scholarship from the Romanian Ministry of Science. She decided to pursue graduate research at the Radium Institute in Paris.

The Radium Institute was quickly becoming a worldwide centre for the study of radioactivity under the direction of physicist Marie Curie. Maracineanu began working on her Ph.D. thesis on polonium, an element that Curie discovered.

During her research on the half-life of polonium, she noticed that the half-life seemed dependent on the type of metal it was placed on. This got her wondering if the alpha rays from the polonium had transferred some atoms of the metal into radioactive isotopes. Her research led to what is most likely the first example of artificial radioactivity.

Maracineanu enrolled at Sorbonne University in Paris to finish her Ph.D. in physics, which she earned in just two years. After working for four years at the Astronomical Observatory in Meudon, she returned to Romania and founded her homeland’s first laboratory for the study of Radioactivity.

She dedicated her time to researching artificial rain, which included a trip to Algeria to test her results. She also studied the link between earthquakes and rainfall, becoming the first to report that there is a significant increase in radioactivity in the epicenter leading up to an earthquake.

In 1935, Irene Currie, daughter of Marie Curie, and her husband received a joint Nobel prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. MaracineanuAdidn’t contest the Nobel prize but asked that her role in the discovery be recognized.

Her work was recognised by the Academy of Sciences of Romania in 1936 where she was elected to serve as a Director of research, but she never received global recognition for the discovery.


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