Marie Curie-Skłodowska en de X-stralen aan het front

Historisch perspectief
Mike B.J.M. Korst

Marie Curie-Skłodowska and X rays at the frontline

At the outbreak of World War I (WWI), Marie Curie-Skłodowska (1867-1934) was already a famous scientist who had received two Nobel prizes, one for physics and one for chemistry. During WWI Marie and her daughter Irène dedicated themselves to using mobile X-ray equipment in the care of wounded soldiers. She visited battlefields in France and Belgium with a ‘petite Curie’: a car equipped with a portable X ray machine, which was driven by a dynamo; 20 of these petites Curies were used during WWI. Approximately 1.2 million wounded were examined radiologically during this war. She also instructed the women, the ‘manipulatrices’, who operated these machines. After WWI, Marie Curie concentrated once more on the development of the Institut du Radium, now the Institut Curie in Paris.

Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.