The Curie's Lab and its Women (1906–1934) Le laboratoire Curie et ses Femmes (1906–1934)

Annals of Science 70 (1):71-100 (2013)
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Summary Marie Curie directed a research laboratory from 1906 to 1934. Several studies have already described its operation, as well as its importance in the field of radioactivity. This article hopes to show, not how the laboratory was unique, but rather how it was integrated into the French University movement at the start of the 20th century. The goal is to resituate the Curie laboratory in the context of the history of higher scientific education in France. This study presents a global overview of all the researchers of the Curie laboratory before focusing in particular upon its female researchers. In fact, the strong presence of women in this laboratory has often been noted. Did Marie Curie favour applications from women? What were the criteria she used to select her collaborators? New sources and biographical research now allow us to highlight the women who spent time at the Curie laboratory. Where did they come from? What were their social and geographic origins? What future did they have after the laboratory? Were they, like their director, able to reconcile research career and family life? Through them we will question the still persistent image of the female researcher devoted to science.



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