, Volume 400, Issue 6, pp 1583-1586,
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Date: 18 Feb 2011

The contribution of Marie Skłodowska-Curie to the development of modern oncology

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At the end of 19th century a few fundamental discoveries changed diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities in medicine and, particularly, in oncology: in 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen from Germany discovered X-rays, in 1886 Henry Becquerel described the phenomenon of radioactivity of uranium, and in 1898 Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium and polonium. In 1903 the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded jointly to Henry Becquerel, and Marie and Pierre Curie for the discovery of radioactivity. Maria Skłodowska-Curie received the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for her discovery of radium and polonium (Fig. 1). Fig. 1

The 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for Maria Skłodowska-Curie’s discovery of radium and polonium

The discovery of X-rays by Roentgen was a turning point in diagnostics. It enabled precise evaluation of internal organs hitherto completely inaccessible for investigation. First, it became possible to visualize the bones (one of the first X-rays in history was an X-ray of the hand of Roe

Published in the special issue Radioanalytics – Dedicated to Marie Skłodowska-Curie with Guest Editors Boguslaw Buszewski and Philippe Garrigues