Google paid tribute to Romanian physicist Stefania Maracineanu on her 140th birthday with an artistic and quirky doodle. Today’s Doodle celebrates the Romanian physicist’s 140th Birthday,” the tech giant wrote on the page.
Maracineanu was one of the pioneering women in the discovery and research of radioactivity. With her science degree, she became a teacher at Central School for girls in Bucharest in 1910. While she was 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, headed by Marie Curie, soon began its work as a worldwide center for the study of radioactivity. Marioara began her PhD on polonium, an element that Curie discovered.
During her polonium research, she noticed that their half-life depended on the type of metal they were placed on. This had her wondering if the alpha rays from the polonium had transferred atoms of the metal during radioactive decay. Her research led to what’s probably 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 the country’s first laboratory for the study of Radioactivity.
She spent her time researching artificial rain and testing it. 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 the discovery of artificial radioactivity. However, Maracineanu contested this because she believed that she had helped with the discovery of artificial radioactivity.
Despite being recognized by the Academy of Sciences of Romania in 1936 and being elected to serve as a Director of Research, she never received global recognition for her discovery.
Her major works as a physicist:
1 – Mărăcineanu’s work led to what is most likely the first example of artificial radioactivity. She also dedicated a major part of her life to researching artificial rain.
2 – She researched the link between earthquakes and rainfall, making her the first to report that a significant increase in radioactivity at the Earth’s epicenter leads to an earthquake.
3 – Mărăcineanu’s contributions as a physicist never attracted global recognition, but the Academy of Sciences of Romania recognized her work in 1936 and elected her to serve as a Director of Research.
4 – Mărăcineanu realised that the half-life of polonium is based on the type of metal it was placed on, which led her to think if the alpha rays from the polonium had transferred some atoms of the metal into radioactive isotopes.
5 -Mărăcineanu requested that at least combined credit for the joint discovery of artificial radioactivity is attributed to her and Marie Curie.