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How Marie Curie's Discovery Of Radium Transformed Science, Medicine And The Roles Of Women Throughout History

1925 words - 8 pages

Marie Curie is the most influential person in history. Her discovery of radium and its uses in science and technology have grown rapidly throughout history, which has contributed to everything from health science to national security. Medical care and airport security would not be as accurate or efficient without X-ray machines and radiotherapy. Marie Curie’s discovery of radium transformed science, medicine, and the roles of women throughout history. As one of the first female scientists, Marie Curie was influential in expanding roles for women in society.
Marie Curie’s discovery of radium impacted almost every form of science and technology. Without radium, some things we use in our scientific world would not be as effective or even available. “[It’s] used in electricity plants, navy submarines and ships, spacecraft in deep space, and pacemakers” (McClafferty, 115). Besides outer space and medicine, radium is also found in smoke detectors, starters for florescent lights, mantles of gas camping lamps, and welding rods.
X-ray machines make a huge impact in science and medicine. They contain radium and are able to see through, objects big and small. Without x-ray machines, our everyday lives would not be the same. Hospitals use x-ray machines to analyze the anatomy of the human body, as well as to evaluate and diagnose. Before x-ray machines were used in hospitals, doctors would perform surgery to detect injuries in patients. Factories, airports, and manufacturing would be less efficient without the ability to see through objects and analyze problems. “X-rays can tell us about the structure of the world - without X-rays we would not know that our genes are arranged in the spiral-staircase like form of the double-helix” (The Royal Society).
With Marie Curie’s discovery, factories are able to x-ray products to ensure quality. For example, parts of a plane are built and x-rayed to check for defects. These x-rays make it easier to efficiently produce products. Backscatters are also used to scan much larger objects such as trucks and containers. Scanning is much more efficient than a physical search.
Radium is also used in radiocarbon dating. This is a method used to determine the age of organic material by measuring the amount of radioactive carbon. Through this, we are able to make historical discoveries. We are able to find out about life thousands of years ago and use this information for scientific research. With this material we can determine more about the history of life and possibly the future.
One negative impact of radium in history is the development of nuclear weapons. These weapons are able to create mass destruction and to kill thousands of people. “Marie’s Work on radium opened the door to the nuclear age in which we live” (McClafferty, 114). In 1945, America dropped the first atomic bomb in Japan, killing 140,000 people, which impacted the entire world (history.com). Advancements in science greatly increased the power of mass...

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