In the cellars of the National Library of France are placed special boxes containing several layers of lead, some of the most important documents in the history of science.
To consult with them, researchers can only do so by wearing protective clothing almost like an astronaut, and the company must sign an approval waiver of any liability.
They may be the best documents in a library that holds some of the rarest and oldest books in the world.
But the suspicion placed on these notebooks is beyond their value to science and knowledge.
And they are highly radioactive.
These include the notebooks of Marie Curie, the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and her husband Pierre, who discovered not only new chemical components, but also the principles of nuclear physics and radiology.
Like all items that were close to the couple, notebooks can be very harmful to humans.
Despite the discovery of radium and polonium by the Curie (named after Poland, Mary The. November 7, 1867), Scientists have never imagined the negative effects of radiation on humans.
In fact, Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia in 1934, perhaps as a result of her frequent exposure to radium and polonium, samples of which she often carried in her pocket.
Therefore, everything related to it and still protected, with extra precautions and should be placed in the lead boxes … The corpse itself The scientist was the first woman to be buried on the basis of her own merit in the Pantheon in Paris, the famous tomb of the French.
When it was moved there, lead sarcophagus nearly an inch thick had to be built to prevent the radioactive molecules still emanating from the “mother of modern physics” corpses from escaping into the environment.
Scientists believe that the new metal radio atoms that Curie gave his life to change the world will remain the same as the notebooks that take an average of 1,500 years. You look at the history of physics. And chemistry.
A radioactive house
To the south of Paris, in the Arquille Commune, is a three-story building that is off-limits.
The high wall, which is rich in graffiti, protects the entrance, which is crowned with barbed wire. Surveillance cameras monitor intruders, while the government periodically monitors their surroundings with strange devices.
However, the house in the Rue de la Convention was abandoned: it was the last laboratory where Marie Curie worked until 1934, and the levels of pollution from the scientist’s experiments left high levels of radiation for centuries.
They call it the “Chernobyl of the Sean” because of the radiation levels found there many years after Curie died.
Furthermore, in honor of the scientist, the laboratory continued to be used as the headquarters of the Institute of Atomic Physics of the Faculty of Science in Paris for decades, where radiation is stored on its walls, carpets, and floors. The roofs and wallpapers were too high for humans to work with.
Towards the end of her life, Marie Curie worked without protection with some of the most harmful radioactive metals, from thorium and uranium to polonium.
As he wrote in his autobiography, one of his pleasures was to see the blue-green flashes that escaped from the metals.Like dim angel lights“.
Also dealing with radioactive metals, he went and wrote and drew on his notebooks, which were enriched in the atoms of everything Curie touched, born as Maria Salomia Sklodovska.
Beginning in the United States (in 1938) it took many years for most countries to ban the commercial use of these metals after his death.
This was a blow to many industries because as a result of the inventions of Curie and his awards, radioactive products became so popular that they were used to make everything from face creams to razors and underwear. Treatment of hair loss and impotence in men.
The long way
However, it was not until the 1980s that the laboratory was finally emptied, and many neighboring countries, according to reports at the time, condemned it. Growing cancer cases in the community.
One study found not only traces of radio, but also traces of the uranium isotope, which has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
It was then that it was decided to move Curie’s notebooks, considered France’s national heritage symbol, to a safe place in the National Library.
In the 1990s, the laboratory underwent a thorough cleaning, but French authorities still barred entry and periodically monitored radiation levels in its surroundings, including the river.
Estimated as France has already spent more than $ 10 million to clean up the site When the house-lab is finally removed, it is hoped that this number will increase in the coming years.
Meanwhile, notebooks will continue to be preserved under lead caskets for more than a year and a half, with some believing that humans could play again without special (and almost no space) from the distant future. One of the most brilliant women in history.