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Marie Curie and the NBS Radium Standards, Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the many current and retired scientists at NIST who have contributed to the U.S. radium standards. These include Jeffrey T. Cessna, Larry L. Lucas, Michael P. Unterweger and James T. Weaver. Special thanks are due to Wilfrid B. Mann and Ronald Collé who have made numerous substantive contributions to radium measurements over the last fifty years. Mann led the efforts among international standards laboratories to intercompare the Hönigschmid standards, and to base all the world's measurements of radium-226 on a common basis. Collé has developed a body of technique for preparing and standardizing radon-222 gases and solutions, and has transferred this capability to national and international standards laboratories.

Thanks are also due to NIST archivist Karma Beal for early records on Dorsey and Curtiss; to Richard Mould for permission to use photographs from his book, A Century of X-Rays and Radioactivity in Medicine; to Edward Towpik, M.D., editor of Nowotwory, for providing a copy of their centennial issue on Marie Curie; and to Mme. Monique Bordry, director of the Curie Museum in Paris, for providing the photograph of the box used for shipping the gram of radium to Paris.


Photo Credits

1913

Hahn, Boltwood and Rutherford
Page 109 in Badash, L., Radioactivity in America: Growth and Decay of a Science (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1979).

Solvay Conference of 1911
from Mould, R.F., A Century of X-Rays and Radioactivity in Medicine (Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, 1993).

Certificate for NBS "Curie" Radium Standard
NIST archives.

Stefan Meyer
Physics Today, p. 45, November 1997, reprinted from Central Library for Physics in Vienna.

Director's Annual Report from 1922
NIST Library.

Certificate from Radium Company of Colorado
from Mould, R.F., A Century of X-Rays and Radioactivity in Medicine (Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, 1993).

1921

Marie Curie in Pittsburgh photo 1
following page 324 in Curie, E., Madame Curie, translated by Vincent Sheean (Doubleday, Doran and Co., Garden City, 1938).

Marie Curie in Pittsburgh photo 2
from N.M. Jeannero, Pittsburgh Sun, 1921. A framed copy of the photograph has been at NIST since the time of the visit.

Marie Curie and President Harding on the steps of the White House
following page 340 in Curie, E., Madame Curie, translated by Vincent Sheean (Doubleday, Doran and Co., Garden City, 1938).

Certificate given to Marie Curie for 1 gram of radium
NIST archives have a copy of the certificate. Original was probably sent to Paris.

Marie Curie with President and Mrs. Harding and Mrs. W.B. Meloney
from Mould, R.F., A Century of X-Rays and Radioactivity in Medicine (Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, 1993).

Cask used to ship the gram of radium to Paris
from Musée et des Archives de l'Institut du Radium, Mme. Monique Bordry, Directeur, 11, Ru Pierre et Marie Curie, 75248 Paris CEDEX 05, France.

1927

NBS gold leaf electroscope
from Mann, W.B. and Seliger, H.H., "Preparation, Maintenance and Applications of Standards of Radioactivity," NBS Circular 594.

Woman at the NBS measuring source strength of a radium-226 specimen with the gold leaf electroscope
from Williams, R.C., "Preliminary Note on Observations Made on Physical Conditions of Persons Engaged in Measuring Radium Preparations," Reprint No. 889, Public Health Reports, December 21, 1923 (Government Printing Office, Washington, 1924).

Schematic of NBS gold leaf electroscope
from Curtiss, L.F., "A Projection Electroscope for Standardizing Radium Preparations," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 16, 363 (1928).

Radium calibration range
from Curtiss, L.F., "A Projection Electroscope for Standardizing Radium Preparations," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 16, 363 (1928).

Radium-226 decay chain
recent schematic from J. Coursey.

Radium-226 gamma ray spectrum from high purity germanium (HPGe) detector
recent measurement of an aged radium-226 source by Jeffrey T. Cessna at NIST.

Decay schema
from Rutherford, E., Radioactive Transformations (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1906).
from Soddy, F., The Chemistry of the Radio-Elements (Longmans - Green, London, 1911).
from Rutherford, E., The Newer Alchemy (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1936).

1929

Marie Curie with President Hoover at White House in 1929
from Dr. Towpik from the volume Towpik, E. and Mould, R., Marie Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Issue (Nowotwory, Polish Oncological Journal, Warsaw, 1998.

1937

Certificate for Hönigschmid Standard No. IV signed by Irène Joliot Curie
NIST archives.

Marie Curie and her daughter Irène in their laboratory
from Musée et des Archives de l'Institut du Radium, Mme. Monique Bordry, Directeur, 11, Ru Pierre et Marie Curie, 75248 Paris CEDEX 05, France.

Hönigschmid Standards of the U.S. and Germany
from Mann, W.B. and Seliger, H.H., "Preparation, Maintenance and Applications of Standards of Radioactivity," NBS Circular 594.

1940s

Poster of early radon-222 work at NBS
from Mann, W.B. and Seliger, H.H., "Preparation, Maintenance and Applications of Standards of Radioactivity," NBS Circular 594.

Patricia Mullen with radon-222 emanation apparatus
from Mann, W.B. and Seliger, H.H., "Preparation, Maintenance and Applications of Standards of Radioactivity," NBS Circular 594.

Pulse ionization chamber used in the 1940 version of the radon-222 emanation system
recent NIST photograph of the artifact.

Early version of a radon-222 gas-handling system
from Harding, J.E., Schwebel, A., and Stockmann, L.L., "Report on the Determination of Small Amounts of Radium in Solution," J. Assoc. Official Agricultural Chemists, May 1958.

Lucy Cavallo and Leroy Stockmann preparing ampoule standards in a hood
from Mann, W.B. and Seliger, H.H., "Preparation, Maintenance and Applications of Standards of Radioactivity," NBS Circular 594.

1950s

NBS microcalorimeter used for radium-226 intercomparisons
from Mann, W.B. and Seliger, H.H., "Preparation, Maintenance and Applications of Standards of Radioactivity," NBS Circular 594.

Certificate for 1947 series of radium-226 solution standards signed by L.L. Stockmann
NIST archives.

Present Status

Certificate for modern radium-226 solution Standard Reference Material
NIST Standard Reference Material Program
Standard Reference Materials Catalog (SRM Catalog - Section 205, Radioactivity).

Modern radon-222 gas handling facility
Modern radon-222 gas handling facility

Schematic of modern radon-222 gas handling apparatus
from Collé, R., Hutchinson, J.M.R., and Unterweger, M.P., "The NIST Primary Radon-222 Measurement System," J. Natl. Inst. Stand. Tech. 95, 155 (1990).

Biographies

Marie Curie
from Musée et des Archives de l'Institut du Radium, Mme. Monique Bordry, Directeur, 11, Ru Pierre et Marie Curie, 75248 Paris CEDEX 05, France.

Noah Dorsey
NIST archives.

Leon Curtiss
NIST archives.

Leon Curtiss at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1923
from Brown, A., The Neutron and the Bomb; A Biography of Sir James Chadwick (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997).

Wilfrid Mann
NIST archives.

Wilfrid Mann at the Berkeley Cyclotron in 1937
from W.B. Mann.

Created August 14, 2009, Updated September 26, 2016