Stefania Mărăcineanu, a Romanian physicist, was honoured with a Google Doodle on Saturday to commemorate her 140th birthday. Mărăcineanu founded Romania’s first laboratory for the study of radioactivity after returning from the Astronomical Observatory in Meudon. She was one of the first women to discover and research radioactivity.
Mărăcineanu’s work led to what is most likely the first example of artificial radioactivity. She also dedicated a major part of her life in researching on artificial rain.
Stefania Mărăcineanu is well known for her work in artificial radioactivity
She researched upon the link between earthquakes and rainfall, making her the first one to report that a significant increase of radioactivity in the Earth’s epicentre leads to an earthquake.
Stefania Mărăcineanu contribution as a physicist never attracted a global recognition, however, Academy of Sciences of Romania in 1936 recognised her work and elected her to serve as a Director of Research
Mărăcineanu during her research on her half-life of polonium, she realised that half-life is based on the type of metal it was placed on, which led her to think if the alpha rays from the polonium had transferred some atoms of the metal into radioactive isotopes.
When Marie Curie’s daughter Irène and her husband won a joint noble prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity, Mărăcineanu asked for the recognition of her contribution in the discovery.
A graduate in physical and chemical science degree in 1910, Mărăcineanu began her career as a teacher at Central School for Girls in Bucharest. She later pursued graduate research at the Radium Institute in Paris. Mărăcineanu also began working on PhD thesis on Polonium, the element which was discovered by Marie Curie.