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When Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radiation at the end of the 19th century, they stumbled upon the first effective non-surgical cancer treatment. Marie identified radium, named from the Latin term for 'light'.


Marie & Pierre Curie
Pioneers In Research Of Radiation

Known simply as Marie Curie, she was a Polish and naturalised-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win a Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. Her husband, Pierre Curie, was a co-winner of her first Nobel Prize; making them the first ever married couple to win the Nobel Prize, and launching the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. Marie was, in 1906, the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.

Pierre worked with his wife in isolating polonium and radium. They were the first to use the term 'radioactivity', and were pioneers in this study. Their work, including Marie Curie's celebrated doctoral work, made use of a sensitive piezoelectric electrometer constructed by Pierre and his brother Jacques Curie. Pierre's 26 Decemeber 1898 publication with his wife and M.G Bemont for their discovery  of radium and polonium was honoured by a Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Award.

With radiation also came the first signs of multi-disciplinary approaches to cancer treatment. The surgeon was no longer operating in isolation but worked together with hospital radiologists to help patients. The complications in communication this brought, along with the necessity of the patients' treatment in a hospital facility rather than at home, also created a parallel process of compiling patient data into hospital files. This in turn led to the first statistical patient studies.

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