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  • Long ago in 1887 behind a shed, Marie and Pierre began their experiment.
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  • Pierre Curie told Marie Curie that they can work in the little shed behind the University. Pierre let Marie use some extra chemicals and tools from the university's science lab. 
  • In the shed, Marie put pitchblende, a form of Uranium ore, in huge pots, stirred and cooked it, and ground it into powder. She added chemicals to the substance and tried to isolate all the elements in it. Every day she mixed a boiling mass with a heavy iron rod nearly as large as herself.
  • It took the Curies four  years to separate a small amount of radium from the pitchblende. In 1902, the Curies finally could see what they had discovered. Inside the dusty shed, the Curies watched its silvery-blue-green glow. 
  •  In 1898, Marie discovered a new element named that was 400 times more radioactive than any other and was named "polonium." Later that year, the Curies discovered another element they named “radium."  It gave off 900 times more radiation than polonium. Marie came up with a new term to define this property of matter known as “radioactive.”
  • The Curies presented her findings to her professors. She suggested that the powerful rays, or energy, gave off what were actually particles from tiny atoms that were disintegrating inside the elements. Marie’s findings contradicted the widely held belief that atoms were solid and unchanging.
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