From 1912 to 1926, over 100 tonnes of crystals of radioactive minerals were shipped from Madagascar to France. The enterprise involved three important people: the indefatigable Professor Alfred Lacroix, who discovered these minerals in material donated to museum collections, the doctor and heir to family fortunes, Henri de Rothschild, who funded a refinery to treat them, and the scientist and humanitarian, Mme Marie Curie, who researched the product of this refinery, namely radium. First intended for medical purposes, in World War I, radium from Madagascar crystals was mainly used to illuminate dials in armored vehicles. After Armistice, it was employed in cancer treatment and research. However, in the 1920s, owing to access to more easily processed ore, the commodity price fell, along with France's import of crystals. By the end of 1926, after a fifteen-year struggle, the once-promising experiment failed; mining and shipment of radioactive crystals ceased.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| April 21 2011
Madame Curie, Baron de Rothschild, Professor Lacroix and the Madagascar experiment
Earth Sciences History (2010) 29 (2): 331–345.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Donald Hogarth; Madame Curie, Baron de Rothschild, Professor Lacroix and the Madagascar experiment. Earth Sciences History 1 December 2010; 29 (2): 331–345. doi: https://doi.org/10.17704/eshi.29.2.v127861p14765163
Download citation file:
Citing articles via
LEONARDO DA VINCI’S AND NICOLAUS STENO’S GEOLOGY
GIAN BATTISTA VAI
EARLY THEORIES AND PRACTICALITIES ON GOLD OCCURRENCE IN AUSTRALIA
KENNETH G. McQUEEN