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Making Marie CurieIntellectual Property and Celebrity Culture in an Age of Information$
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Eva Hemmungs Wirtén

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226235844

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226235981.001.0001

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Me, Myself, I

Me, Myself, I

In the Interest of Disinterestedness

(p.9) 1 Me, Myself, I
Making Marie Curie

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén

University of Chicago Press

This chapter concentrates on the period when Marie and Pierre Curie worked together as a scientific team and discovered (1898) and later isolated (1902) radium. The narrative orbits around their famous decision not to patent radium and explores how Marie Curie situated the relation between practices of patenting and publishing in Pierre Curie, her biography of her husband. Events begin in 1897 with Marie Curie embarking on her thesis and end with Pierre Curie’s dramatic death in 1906. The Curies’ collaboration is one of the most well known in the history of science, and holds important clues to a further understanding of the emerging persona Marie Curie. Marie Curie’s legal status as a married woman is especially crucial. She was a public figure, co-discoverer of radium, author of many scientific papers, and Nobel Prize recipient in 1903, but as a married woman she was not a legal person and therefore could not “own” any of the intellectual property that led her to those achievements or that resulted from them.

Keywords:   radium, patenting, authorship, publishing, Code Civil, property, persona, legal person, scientific discovery

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