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CURIE, Marie Sklodowska (1867-1934). Thses prsentes  la Facult des Sciences de Paris pour obtenir le grade de docteur s sciences physiques...--Recherches sur les substances radioactives. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1903.
CURIE, Marie Sklodowska (1867-1934). Thses prsentes la Facult des Sciences de Paris pour obtenir le grade de docteur s sciences physiques...--Recherches sur les substances radioactives. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1903.

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CURIE, Marie Sklodowska (1867-1934). Thses prsentes la Facult des Sciences de Paris pour obtenir le grade de docteur s sciences physiques...--Recherches sur les substances radioactives. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1903.

8o (226 x 153 mm). Several line block and one halftone text illustrations. Initial blank leaf present. Stab-stitched, later green cloth (upper joint split). Provenance: Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), physicist and chemist (presentation inscription, "A Monsieur Rutherford Hommage de l'auteur M. Curie", on front free endpaper); Franz Sondheimer (bookplate).

EXCEPTIONALLY IMPORTANT PRESENTATION COPY of Marie Curie's doctoral thesis, containing a critical analysis of her extraodinarily productive researches into the phenomenon of radioactivity during the years 1897 to 1903, carried out in collaboration with her husband under extremely difficult material circumstances. 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 honored, was to become the first recipient of two Nobel Prizes in 1911, when her discovery of radium and polium earned her the Prize for chemistry.

The presentation of this copy to Ernest Rutherford is of the utmost historical significance. The greatest experimental physicist of his day, discoverer of the nuclear structure of the atom and Nobel Laureate in chemistry for 1908, Rutherford succeeded the Curies as the dominant figure in the field of radioactivity, an area that he had begun investigating at approximately the same time as had Mme. Curie. His correct explanation of radioactivity as the by-product of the transformation of one element to another revolutionized physics and had incalculable effects on the course of the twentieth century. Rutherford's Radio-activity (1904, see lot ***), the first general monograph on radioactivity, contains numerous references to Curie's work and was the most important contribution to the field following her dissertation. Dibner Heralds of Science 164; En franais dans le texte 333; Grolier/Horblit 19; PMM 394; Waller 11319; Norman 543.
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