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Joliot-Curie

Joliot-Curie (zhôlyōˈ-kürēˈ) [key], French scientists who were husband and wife. Frédéric Joliot-Curie frādārēkˈ, 1900–1958, formerly Frédéric Joliot, and Irène Joliot-Curie ērĕnˈ, 1897–1956, daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie, were married in 1926. Both were assistants at the Radium Institute in Paris, of which Irène, succeeding her mother, was director in 1932. Together the Joliot-Curies continued the work of the Curies on radioactivity. For their artificial production of radioactive substances, in which they bombarded certain elements with alpha particles, they shared the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 1940 they collaborated on research on the chain reaction in nuclear fission. In 1946 they helped to organize the French atomic energy commission, and in the same year Frédéric was appointed chairman of the commission. He was forced to resign in 1950, however, because of his Communist activities, and in 1951 Irène was also dropped from the commission because of her Communist affiliations. In 1947, Irène became a professor and the director of the radium laboratory at the Sorbonne. In 1956, Frédéric was a member of the French Communist party's Central Committee, and in the same year he was appointed to the chair of nuclear physics at the Univ. of Paris.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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