One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A unit of radioactivity, corresponding to 3.7 × 10¹⁰ disintegrations per second.
- ‘The activity (rate of decay) of Rn is expressed in units called curies.’
- ‘The sediment around its shores blew 5 million curies of radioactive dust over 25,000 square kilometres, irradiating 500,000 people.’
- ‘In 1983, they were fined for releasing 50,000 curies of radiation into the Irish Sea, some of which ended up on local beaches, forcing their closure.’
- ‘By 1963, the year of my parent's marriage, the average release of beta emitters from reactor effluent was 14, 500 curies per day.’
- ‘In 1957, there was an explosion at a waste storage facility that blew 2 million curies of radiation into the atmosphere.’
- 1.1 The quantity of radioactive substance that emits one curie of activity.‘a curie of any radioactive element disintegrates at the same rate as 1 gram of natural radium’
- ‘During that time I used to handle vials with over 5 curies (which is about 100 times more than what you inquire about) of this radioactive substance on almost daily basis.’
- ‘Each generator contains up to 40,000 curies of highly radioactive material.’
- ‘The new tenants discovered an old irradiator containing 19 curies of cobalt-60.’
Early 20th century: named after Pierre and Marie Curie.
Marie (1867–1934), Polish-born French physicist, and Pierre (1859–1906), French physicist, pioneers of radioactivity. Working together on the mineral pitchblende, they discovered the elements polonium and radium, for which they shared the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics with A.-H. Becquerel. After her husband's accidental death Marie received another Nobel Prize (for chemistry) in 1911 for her isolation of radium. She died of leukaemia, caused by prolonged exposure to radioactive materials.
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