Ștefania Mărăcineanu: Internet giant, Google celebrates Romanian physicist Stefania Marasinianu’s 140th birthday on Saturday 18 June 2022 with a doodle. Stefania Marcinianu was one of the pioneers in the discovery and research of radioactivity. In 1910, Marcinianu graduated with a physical and chemical science degree. She started her career as a school teacher at the Central School for Girls in Bucharest.
When she earned a scholarship from the Romanian Ministry of Science, she decided to pursue graduate research at the Radium Institute in Paris. Quickly the Radium Institute was becoming a worldwide center for the study of radioactivity under the direction of physicist Marie Curie. Ștefania Mărăcineanu started working on her PhD thesis on polonium, an element that Curie discovered.
Throughout her research on polonium, she noticed that the half-life seemed dependent on the type of metal it was placed on. It made her wonder if alpha rays from polonium had transferred some of the metal atoms to the radioactive isotope. This research of Ștefania Mărăcineanu is probably the first example of artificial radioactivity. Mărăcineanu was enroll at Sorbonne University in Paris to complete her PhD in physics and she earned in just two years.
After working for four years at the Astronomical Observatory in Meudon, she returned to Romania and founded her first laboratory for the study of Radioactivity in her homeland. She devoted her time to research on artificial rain, including a trip to Algeria to test his results. Ștefania Mărăcineanu also studied on the link between the earthquakes and rainfall, first reporting a significant increase in radioactivity at the center.
In 1935, Irène Currie, daughter of Marie Curie, and her husband got a joint Nobel prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. Ștefania Mărăcineanu did not contest the Nobel prize but asked that her role in the discovery be recognized. In 1936, her work was recognized by the Academy of Sciences of Romania where she was elected to serve as a Director of research, but she never received worldwide recognition for her discovery.
The Curie Museum in Paris contains the original chemical laboratory in the Radium Institute, where Mărăcineanu worked. Today, Google Doodle Pays Tribute to Ștefania Mărăcineanu and celebrating her 140th birth anniversary.