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MARIE CURIE (1867-1934)
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MARIE CURIE (1867-1934)

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MARIE CURIE (1867-1934)
Thèses présentées à la Faculté des Sciences de Paris pour obtenir le grade de docteur ès sciences physiques. 1re thèse -- Recherches sur les substances radioactives. 2e thèse -- Propositions données par la Faculté. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1903. 8° (242 x 157mm). One halftone illustration and diagrams. (Front endpaper, title and some text leaves reinforced at gutter, short tear in title, some skilful marginal repairs.) Original printed wrappers (edges repaired, rebacked and resewn); modern morocco-backed case. Provenance: George F. Kunz (1856-1932; presentation inscription from the author; front cover of mailing envelope de-acidified and inserted at front) -- Charles Northmore Sturtevant (bookplate). -- Lawrence Henry Conklin (b. 1933; bookplate) -- Harvey B. Plotnick (for whom, see footnote to the previous lot; his sale, Christie's New York, 4 October 2002, lot 59).

FIRST EDITION OF MARIE CURIE'S MOST SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATION. A PRESENTATION COPY WITH A FINE PROVENANCE. Curie's thesis contains a critical analysis of her extraordinarily productive researches into the phenomenon of radioactivity during the years 1897 to 1903, carried out in collaboration with her husband and with great practical difficulties. During this period Curie had 'made the first measurement of radioactive radiation, demonstrated the radioactive properties of thorium, discovered polonium and radium, described the atomic nature of radioactivity, prepared pure radium chloride, determined the atomic weight of radium, observed induced radioactivity... and developed the chemical aspects of radioactivity' (Norman). Six months after the presentation of her thesis, the Nobel Prize for physics was awarded jointly to Marie and Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel for their discovery of radioactivity. Marie, the first woman to be so honoured, was to become in 1911 the first person to be awarded the Nobel Prize twice.

WITH AN INSCRIPTION OF MARIE CURIE TO GEORGE KUNZ on the front endpaper: 'A Monsieur Kunz Hommage de l'auteur M. Curie.' George Kunz, a vice-president of Tiffany & Co. in New York, was arguably the most important American mineralogist and gemologist of the period: the kunzite is a pink gem named in his honour. A prolific scientific writer, he was also an important collector of books and manuscripts on the subject, and kept in the present copy the original stamped cover in which it was mailed. A subsequent owner of this copy, Lawrence Conklin, is also a mineralogist and the author of Notes and Commentaries on Letters to George F. Kunz (New Canaan, CT: 1986). Dibner 164; En franç‡ais dans le texte 333; Grolier Science 19; Norman 543; PMM 394; Waller 11319.
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