Maracineanu, Stefania (1882 - 1944)

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Romanian professor

Among the Romanian scientists of the past in danger of being unjustly forgotten, there is a woman, our first prominent physicist: Ştefania Mărăcineanu. Yet, here wrote about her, the very Marie Curie: "Miss Mărăcineanu worked many years in my lab and recently obtained her Ph.D. in physical sciences. I particularly appreciate her scientific work”. As you know, natural radioactivity, discovered by Henri Becquerel in 1896, is the property of atomic nuclei of disintegrating spontaneously by emission of radiation alpha, beta and gamma. Artificial radioactivity results after the bombardment of stable nuclei with neutrons or accelerated particles. Working on her PhD thesis on polonium constant (1924), Ştefania Mărăcineanu observed such a phenomenon: the metal lead in support of devices is influenced by radioactive polonium, beginning to emit radiations in its turn, which persisted after the polonium did not act!
Almost a decade after the initial discovery, Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie had to obtain artificial radioactivity by bombarding aluminum with alpha particles, metal disintegration continued after removal of alpha radiation source. The two scientists have given an explanation of the whole phenomenon of artificial radioactivity, their discovery being crowned with Nobel Prize; we consider that Romanian physicist would be worth to be associated, as firstly identified the phenomenon. Much more as Irene Joliot-Curie herself confessed in an article in "Neues Wiener Journal" (5 June 1934): "We remember that Romanian scientist, Miss Mărăcineanu, announced in 1924 the discovery of artificial radioactivity."
Ştefania Mărăcineanu was born in Bucharest on June 18, 1882. She had a troubled childhood, which did not like to speak, but this put seal throughout her entire existence. In 1910 she obtained a degree in chemical physics, and soon afterward became a teacher at Central School for girls in Bucharest. After World War I, she went for specialization in Paris, where she worked under leading of Marie Curie, in The Radium Institute and then in the Astronomical Observatory of Meudon; she published many papers during 1919-1930 in prestigious scientific journals. In 1925 she was appointed assistant at the Faculty of Sciences in Bucharest, where she organized the first Radioactivity laboratory in Romania, performing original works in this field.
She undertook interesting experiences of obtaining artificial rain in the country and abroad, using radioactive salts, getting some results (in Bărăgan the Sahara, etc.). She published valuable works concerning the link between earthquakes and rainfall and was the first to report that on the eve of an earthquakes there is a significant increase in radioactivity in the epicenter, due to releases of radioactive radon - a gas produced by decay of radium - (as a result of micro earthquakes), hypothesis with great practical significance, confirmed only after teens of years.
variant spelling:
Maracineanu, Stefania
Curriculum vitae  
* 18.06.1882 Bucuresti born
1910 Bucuresti Degree in chemical physics
1924 Paris Ph.D.
1925 Bucuresti Professor
† 1944 Bucuresti died
Rationalisation, ca. 1920-1950
Maracineanu Stefania
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