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150th Anniversary of the birth of Marie Curie

Today, 7 November 2017, the BIPM is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Marie Curie. Marie Curie and the BIPM have shared a common history and she visited the BIPM several times.

More about Marie Curie and the BIPM

Photograph of Marie Curie and her family at the BIPM (c. 1904) and of a certificate issued by the Curie Laboratory

The first international standard for ionizing radiation was prepared by Madame Curie and was placed at the BIPM in 1913. It was the basis of the international measurement system for about 50 years - the original KCRV.

Ionizing radiations are present in many aspects of life today. Ionizing radiation metrology has a huge impact in healthcare medical (diagnostics and therapy), environmental (natural and in emergencies) and nuclear industry activities, highlighting the need for a world-wide, harmonized system of quantities and units to assure the accuracy and comparability of their measurement.

Since it was established, the BIPM Ionizing Radiation Department has set up and maintains the international reference standards that are used in the BIPM key comparisons of activity and dosimetry measurements for the National Metrology Institutes.

In 2017, The BIPM has signed an agreement with the Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA List Institute), to operate the ongoing BIPM.RI(I)-K6 comparison for high-energy photon beams at the DOSEO platform for research and development in radiotherapy and imaging technologies. This agreement enables the BIPM to use the same stationary reference accelerator beam to define and determine their own conditions for reference dosimetry for any National Metrology Institute participating in the high-energy photon dosimetry comparisons. The agreement has the added advantage that it will allow national secondary standards to obtain direct absorbed dose to water (Dw) traceability to the BIPM in this field. At a time when we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marie Curie, the first comparison with KRISS (Republic of Korea) is just starting.

"There is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity." Marie Curie (May 1914)

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