Women’s History Month: Marie Curie

25 03 2011

Photo ACJC, www.aip.org
For Women’s History Month, we are once again recognizing a woman who has made huge advances in science: Marie Curie.

Marie Curie was the first woman to ever receive a Nobel prize, and the first person to receive two (one in physics, one in chemistry)! She won her first Nobel prize in Physics in 1903 for research she completed with her husband, Pierre Curie, in radioactivity. The idea of radiation and the word radioactivity were invented by Marie Curie herself!

Today we know that there are lots of different kinds of radiation. The light from the sun is radiation! So are x-rays, a stronger kind of radiation, which doctors use today to be able to see our bones through our skin. Light radiation is too weak to pass through objects (like our skin) but the types of radiation (like x-rays) that Marie Curie worked with can. Marie and her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, helped pioneer the use of x-rays in medicine during World War I.

Marie Curie’s discoveries set the foundation for atomic and nano research, and today allow us to understand much more about atoms, the tiny particles that make up our bodies, our planet, and our solar system. It is because of Marie Curie that we can even have NanoDays here at the museum!

Even though radiation is all around us, it can be harmful. For example, the sun’s radiation can give you a painful sun burn. Sadly, Marie Curie and her daughter both died of leukemia (a type of cancer) because they had been exposed to too much strong radiation.

To learn more about atoms, the way they behave, and nanotechnology, join us this Sunday, March 27th from 12 to 5 pm!





Women’s History Month: Ellen Ochoa

12 03 2011

For Women’s History Month, we want honor women who have made a great impact in science and engineering.

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa is commonly known as the first Hispanic woman to ever travel to space. She is also a pioneer in spacecraft technology.

Ochoa first achieved great success in school. She received a bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University a master of science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Ochoa became an astronaut in 1991 after being selected by NASA. She primarily worked on flight software, computer hardware and robotics.

Ochoa first went to space in 1993. She was on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery.On this mission, she helped to study the Earth’s ozone layer.

Ochoa has been into space a total of four times. She has spent over 1000 hours in space!

Ochoa still works at NASA, but she no longer participates in spacecraft operations. She is now Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center, where she helps to manage and direct the Astronaut Office and Aircraft Operations.

Ellen Ochoa has also pioneered in science technology where she spent most of her time trying to further help space exploration. Her accomplishments in space exploration and technology continue to inspire us all.

Which women in history inspire you?








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