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Marie Skłodowska-Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish physicist andchemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes[1]—in physics and chemistry. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombedon her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.[2]HP Pavilion dv6-6001ea Battery

She was born Maria Salomea Skłodowska ([ˈmarja salɔˈmɛa skwɔˈdɔfska]) in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland. She studied at Warsaw's clandestine Floating University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. HP Pavilion dv6-6001eg Battery

In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared her 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with the physicist Henri Becquerel. HP Pavilion dv6-6001sg Battery

Her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, would similarly share a Nobel Prize. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Skłodowska-Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to date to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. HP Pavilion dv6-6002eg Battery

Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined[3]), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment ofneoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris andWarsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. HP Pavilion dv6-6002sg Battery

While an actively loyal French citizen, Skłodowska-Curie (she used both surnames) never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element that she discovered – polonium, which she first isolated in 1898 – after her native country.[4]HP Pavilion dv6-6003eg Battery

 During World War Ishe became a member of the Committee for a Free Poland (Komitet Wolnej Polski).[5] In 1932, she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska–Curie Institute of Oncology) in her home town, Warsaw, headed by her physician-sister Bronisława. Curie died in 1934 of aplastic anemia brought on by her years of exposure to radiation.[6]HP Pavilion dv6-6004sa Battery

Maria Skłodowska was born in Warsaw, in the Russian partition of Poland, on 7 November 1867, the fifth and youngest child of well-known teachers Bronisława and Władysław Skłodowski. Maria's older siblings were Zofia (born 1862), Józef (1863), Bronisława (1865) and Helena (1866). HP Pavilion dv6-6005ea Battery

Maria's paternal grandfather Józef Skłodowski had been a respected teacher in Lublin, where he taught the young Bolesław Prus.[7] Her father Władysław Skłodowski taught mathematics and physics, subjects that Maria was to pursue, HP Pavilion dv6-6005eg Battery

and was also director of two Warsaw gymnasia for boys, in addition to lodging boys in the family home. Maria's mother Bronisława operated a prestigious Warsaw boarding school for girls; she suffered fromtuberculosis and died when Maria was twelve. HP Pavilion dv6-6005sg Battery

Maria's father was an atheist; her mother—a devout Catholic.[8] Two years earlier Maria's oldest sibling, Zofia, had died of typhus. The deaths of her mother and sister, according to Robert William Reid, caused Maria to give up Catholicism and become agnostic.[9]HP Pavilion dv6-6006ea Battery

When she was ten years old, Maria began attending the boarding school that her mother had operated while she was well; next Maria attended a gymnasium for girls, from which she graduated on 12 June 1883. She spent the following year in the countryside with relatives of her father's, and the next with her father in Warsaw, where she did sometutoring. HP Pavilion dv6-6007sg Battery

On both the paternal and maternal sides, the family had lost their property and fortunes through patriotic involvements in Polish national uprisings aiming at the restoration of Poland's independence (most recent of which was the January Uprising). This condemned each subsequent generation, including that of Maria, her elder sisters and her brother, to a difficult struggle to get ahead in life.[10]HP Pavilion dv6-6007TX Battery

Maria made an agreement with her sister, Bronisława, that she would give her financial assistance during Bronisława's medical studies in Paris, in exchange for similar assistance two years later.[11] In connection with this, Maria took a position as governess: first with a lawyer's family in Kraków; then for two years in Ciechanów with a landed family, the Żorawskis, who were relatives of her father. HP Pavilion dv6-6008eg Battery

While working for the latter family, she fell in love with their son, Kazimierz Żorawski, which was reciprocated by this future eminent mathematician. His parents, however, rejected the idea of his marrying the penniless relative, and Kazimierz was unable to oppose them. Maria lost her position as governess.[12] She found another with the Fuchs family in Sopot, on the Baltic Sea coast, where she spent the next year, all the while financially assisting her sister. HP Pavilion dv6-6011tu Battery

At the beginning of 1890, Bronisława, a few months after she married Kazimierz Dłuski, invited Maria to join them in Paris. Maria declined because she could not afford the university tuition and was still counting on marrying Kazimierz Żorawski. She returned home to her father in Warsaw, where she remained till the fall of 1891. She tutored, studied at the clandestine Floating University,[13]HP Pavilion dv6-6013tu Battery

 and began her practical scientific training (1890–91) in a laboratory at the Museum of Industry and Agriculture at Krakowskie Przedmieście 66, near Warsaw's Old Town.[14] The laboratory was run by her cousinJózef Boguski, who had been assistant in Saint Petersburg to the great Russian chemistDmitri Mendeleev.[15]HP Pavilion dv6-6024tx Battery

In October 1891, at her sister's insistence and after receiving a letter from Żorawski, in which he definitively broke his relationship with her, she decided to go to France after all.[8]HP Pavilion dv6-6025tx Battery


Maria's loss of the relationship with Żorawski was tragic for both. He soon earned a doctorate and pursued an academic career as a mathematician, becoming a professor and rector of Kraków University and president of the Warsaw Society of Learning. HP Pavilion dv6-6027tx Battery

Still, as an old man and a mathematics professor at the Warsaw Polytechnic, he would sit contemplatively before the statue of Maria Skłodowska which had been erected in 1935 before the Radium Institute that she had founded in 1932.[16]HP Pavilion dv6-6042sf Battery

In Paris, Maria briefly found shelter with her sister and brother-in-law before renting a primitive garret[17] and proceeding with her studies of physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the Sorbonne (the University of Paris). HP Pavilion dv6-6051xx Battery


Skłodowska studied during the day and tutored evenings, barely earning her keep. In 1893, she was awarded a degree in physics and began work in an industrial laboratory at Lippman's. Meanwhile she continued studying at the Sorbonne, and in 1894, earned a degree in mathematics. HP Pavilion dv6-6054ef Battery

That same year, Pierre Curie entered her life. He was an instructor at the School of Physics and Chemistry, the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI). Skłodowska had begun her scientific career in Paris with an investigation of the magnetic properties of various steels; it was their mutual interest inmagnetism that drew Skłodowska and Curie together.[18]HP Pavilion dv6-6054sf Battery

Her departure for the summer to Warsaw only enhanced their mutual feelings for each other. She still was laboring under the illusion that she would be able to return to Poland and work in her chosen field of study. When she was denied a place at Kraków Universitymerely because she was a woman, she returned to Paris.[19] HP Pavilion dv6-6063sf Battery

Almost a year later, in July 1895, she and Pierre Curie married, and thereafter the two physicists hardly ever left their laboratory. They shared two hobbies, long bicycle trips and journeys abroad, which brought them even closer. Maria had found a new love, a partner, and a scientific collaborator upon whom she could depend.[19]HP Pavilion dv6-6087eg Battery



In 1896 Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium salts emitted rays that resembled X-raysin their penetrating power. He demonstrated that this radiation, unlike phosphorescence, did not depend on an external source of energy, but seemed to arise spontaneously from uranium itself. Becquerel had, in fact, discovered radioactivity. HP Pavilion dv6-6090sf Battery

Curie decided to look into uranium rays as a possible field of research for a thesis. She used a clever technique to investigate samples. Fifteen years earlier, her husband and his brother had invented the electrometer, a sensitive device for measuring electrical charge. Using the Curie electrometer, she discovered that uranium rays caused the air around a sample to conduct electricity.[20] HP Pavilion dv6-6090us Battery

Using this technique, her first result was the finding that the activity of the uranium compounds depended only on the quantity of uranium present. She had shown that the radiation was not the outcome of some interaction of molecules, but must come from the atom itself. In scientific terms, this was the most important single piece of work that she conducted.[21]HP Pavilion dv6-6091nr Battery


Curie's systematic studies had included two uranium minerals, pitchblende and torbernite(also known as chalcolite). Her electrometer showed that pitchblende was four times as active as uranium itself, and chalcolite twice as active. HP Pavilion dv7-4000sb Battery

She concluded that, if her earlier results relating the quantity of uranium to its activity were correct, then these two minerals must contain small quantities of some other substance that was far more active than uranium itself.[22]HP Pavilion dv7-4000eh Battery


The idea [writes Reid] was her own; no one helped her formulate it, and although she took it to her husband for his opinion she clearly established her ownership of it. She later recorded the fact twice in her biography of her husband to ensure there was no chance whatever of any ambiguity. HP Pavilion dv7-4000 Battery

It [is] likely that already at this early stage of her career [she] realized that... many scientists would find it difficult to believe that a woman could be capable of the original work in which she was involved.[23]HP Pavilion dv7-4001tx Battery


In her systematic search for other substances beside uranium salts that emitted radiation, Curie had found that the element thorium likewise, was radioactive. HP Pavilion dv7-4002TX Battery

She was acutely aware of the importance of promptly publishing her discoveries and thus establishing her priority. Had not Becquerel, two years earlier, presented his discovery to the Académie des Sciences the day after he made it, HP Pavilion dv7-4003tx Battery

credit for the discovery of radioactivity, and even a Nobel Prize, would have gone to Silvanus Thompson instead. Curie chose the same rapid means of publication. Her paper, giving a brief and simple account of her work, was presented for her to the Académie on 12 April 1898 by her former professor, Gabriel Lippmann.[24]HP Pavilion dv7-4003xx Battery

Even so, just as Thompson had been beaten by Becquerel, so Curie was beaten in the race to tell of her discovery that thorium gives off rays in the same way as uranium. Two months earlier, Gerhard Schmidt had published his own finding in Berlin.[25]HP Pavilion dv7-4004ez Battery


At that time, however, no one else in the world of physics had noticed what Curie recorded in a sentence of her paper, describing how much greater were the activities of pitchblende and chalcolite than uranium itself: "The fact is very remarkable, and leads to the belief that these minerals may contain an element which is much more active than uranium." She later would recall how she felt "a passionate desire to verify this hypothesis as rapidly as possible."[26]HP Pavilion dv7-4004TX Battery

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Pierre Curie was sure that what she had discovered was not a spurious effect. He was so intrigued that he decided to drop his work on crystals temporarily and to join her. On 14 April 1898, they optimistically weighed out a 100-gram sample of pitchblende and ground it with a pestle and mortar. HP Pavilion dv7-4005sw Battery

They did not realize at the time that what they were searching for was present in such minute quantities that they eventually would have to process tons of the ore.[26]HP Pavilion dv7-4006so Battery


As they were unaware of the deleterious effects of radiation exposure attendant on their chronic unprotected work with radioactive substances, Curie and her husband had no idea what price they would pay for the effect of their research upon their health.[19]HP Pavilion dv7-4007eo Battery


In July 1898, Curie and her husband published a paper together, announcing the existence of an element which they named "polonium", in honor of her native Poland, which would for another twenty years remain partitioned among three empires. On 26 December 1898, the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named "radium" for its intense radioactivity — a word that they coined. HP Pavilion dv7-4010ev Battery


Pitchblende is a complex mineral. The chemical separation of its constituents was an arduous task. The discovery of polonium had been relatively easy; chemically it resembles the element bismuth, and polonium was the only bismuth-like substance in the ore. HP Pavilion dv7-4010sd Battery

Radium, however, was more elusive. It is closely related, chemically, to barium, and pitchblende contains both elements. By 1898, the Curies had obtained traces of radium, but appreciable quantities, uncontaminated with barium, still were beyond reach.[27]HP Pavilion dv7-4010sg Battery


The Curies undertook the arduous task of separating out radium salt by differentialcrystallization. From a ton of pitchblende, one-tenth of a gram of radium chloride was separated in 1902. By 1910, Curie, working on without her husband, who had been killed accidentally by a horse drawn vehicle[28] in 1906, had isolated the pure radium metal.[29]HP Pavilion dv7-4010so Battery


In an unusual decision, Marie Curie intentionally refrained from patenting the radium-isolation process, so that the scientific community could do research unhindered.[30]HP Pavilion dv7-4010sv Battery

In 1903, under the supervision of Henri Becquerel,[31] Marie was awarded her DSc from the University of Paris.


In 1903 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Pierre Curie, Marie Curie and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel." HP Pavilion dv7-4010sw Battery


Curie and her husband were unable to go to Stockholm to receive the prize in person, but they shared its financial proceeds with needy acquaintances, including students.[19]HP Pavilion dv7-4010tx Battery


On receiving the Nobel Prize, Marie and Pierre Curie suddenly became very famous. The Sorbonne gave Pierre a professorship and permitted him to establish his own laboratory, in which Curie became the director of research. HP Pavilion dv7-4011eg Battery


In 1897 and 1904, respectively, Curie gave birth to their daughters, Irène and Ève Curie. She later hired Polish governesses to teach her daughters her native language, and sent or took them on visits to Poland.[32]HP Pavilion dv7-4011el Battery


Curie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Eight years later, in 1911, she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, "in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element." HP Pavilion dv7-4011so Battery


month after accepting her 1911 Nobel Prize, she was hospitalized with depression and a kidney ailment.

Curie was the first person to win or share two Nobel Prizes. She is one of only two people who have been awarded a Nobel Prize in two different fields, the other person being Linus Pauling (for chemistry and for peace). Nevertheless, HP Pavilion dv7-4012eg Battery

in 1911 the French Academy of Sciences did not elect her to be a member by two votes. Elected instead was Édouard Branly, an inventor who had helped Guglielmo Marconi develop the wireless telegraph.[33]It would be a doctoral student of Curie, Marguerite Perey, who would become the first woman elected to membership in the Academy – over half a century later, in 1962. HP Pavilion dv7-4012TX Battery


On 19 April 1906 Pierre was killed in a street accident. Walking across the Rue Dauphinein heavy rain, he was struck by a horse-drawn vehicle and fell under its wheels; his skull was fractured.[28] While it has been speculated that previously he may have been weakened by prolonged radiation exposure, there are no indications that this contributed to the accident. HP Pavilion dv7-4013eg Battery

Curie was devastated by the death of her husband. She noted that, as of that moment she suddenly had become "an incurably and wretchedly lonely person". HP Pavilion dv7-4013el Battery

On 13 May 1906, the Sorbonne physics department decided to retain the chair that had been created for Pierre Curie and they entrusted it to Curie together with full authority over the laboratory. This allowed her to emerge from Pierre's shadow. She became the first woman to become a professor at the Sorbonne, and in her exhausting work regime she sought a meaning for her life. HP Pavilion dv7-4013so Battery


Recognition for her work grew to new heights, and in 1911 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded her a second Nobel Prize, this time for Chemistry. A delegation of celebrated Polish men of learning, headed by world-famous novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz, encouraged her to return to Poland and continue her research in her native country.[19]HP Pavilion dv7-4013tx Battery


In 1911 it was revealed that in 1910–11 Curie had conducted an affair of about a year's duration with physicist Paul Langevin, a former student of Pierre Curie's.[34] He was a married man who was estranged from his wife. This resulted in a press scandal that was exploited by her academic opponents. HP Pavilion dv7-4014eo Battery

Despite her fame as a scientist working for France, the public's attitude tended toward xenophobia—the same that had led to the Dreyfus affair–which also fueled false speculation that Curie was Jewish. She was five years older than Langevin and was portrayed in the tabloids as a home-wrecker.[35] Later, Curie's granddaughter, Hélène Joliot, married Langevin's grandson, Michel Langevin. HP Pavilion dv7-4015ew Battery

Curie's second Nobel Prize, in 1911, enabled her to talk the French government into funding the building of a private Radium Institute (Institut du radium, now the Institut Curie), which was built in 1914 and at which research was conducted in chemistry, physics, and medicine. The Institute became a crucible of Nobel Prize winners, producing four more, including her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and her son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie. HP Pavilion dv7-4015ez Battery

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During World War I, Marie saw a need for field radiological centers near the front lines to assist battlefield surgeons. After a quick study of radiology, anatomy and automotive mechanics she procured x-ray equipment, vehicles, auxiliary generators and developed mobile radiography units, which came to be popularly known as petites Curies ("Little Curies").HP Pavilion dv7-4015sg Battery

She directed the installation of twenty mobile radiological vehicles and another 200 radiological units at field hospitals in the first year of the war. It is estimated that over one million wounded soldiers were treated with her x-ray units.[9]HP Pavilion dv7-4015sl Battery


Afterwards, Marie produced hollow needles containing 'radium emanation', a colorless, radioactive gas given off by radium, later identified as radon to be used for sterilizing infected tissue. Curie provided the radium, from her own personal one gram supply. HP Pavilion dv7-4015ss Battery


Also, promptly after the war started, she attempted to donate her gold Nobel Prize medalsto the war effort but the official refused to accept them. She was also active member in committees of Polish Polonia in France dedicated to Polish cause.[36]HP Pavilion dv7-4016eg Battery



In 1921 Curie was welcomed triumphantly when she toured the United States to raise funds for research on radium. Mrs. William Brown Meloney, after interviewing Curie, raised money to buy 1 gram of radium and publicized the trip.[37] President Warren Hardingreceived her at the White House.[38]HP Pavilion dv7-4017ez Battery

Her second American tour, in 1929, succeeded in equipping the Warsaw Radium Institute, founded in 1925 with her sister Bronisława as director.[39]HP Pavilion dv7-4019sz Battery


These distractions from her scientific labors and the attendant publicity caused her much discomfort but provided resources needed for her work. HP Pavilion dv7-4020ec Battery


In her later years Curie headed the Curie Pavilion, a radioactivity laboratory created for her by the Pasteur Institute and the University of Paris. It was one of four major radioactivity-research laboratories, the others being the Cavendish Laboratory, with Ernest Rutherford; the Institute for Radium Research, Vienna, with Stefan Meyer; and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry, with Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner. [40]HP Pavilion dv7-4020em Battery

In 1933, when Russian physicists George Gamow and his wife — who had together been trying for two years to defect from the Soviet Union — attended the 7th Solvay Conferenceon physics, in Brussels, Marie Curie and other physicists helped them extend their stay, and Gamow obtained temporary work at the Curie Institute. HP Pavilion dv7-4020eo Battery



Curie visited Poland for the last time in the spring of 1934.[19] Only a few months later, on 4 July 1934, Curie died at the Sancellemoz Sanatorium in Passy, in Haute-Savoie, eastern France, from aplastic anemia contracted from her long-term exposure to radiation.[6] The damaging effects of ionizing radiation were not then known, and much of her work had been carried out in a shed, HP Pavilion dv7-4020sa Battery

without the safety measures that would later be developed. She had carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket[citation needed]and stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the faint light that the substances gave off in the dark.[41] Marie was also exposed to x-rays from unshielded equipment while serving as a radiologist in field hospitals during the war. HP Pavilion dv7-4021tx Battery


She was interred at the cemetery in Sceaux, alongside her husband Pierre. Sixty years later, in 1995, in honor of their achievements, the remains of both were transferred to thePanthéon, Paris. She became the first – and so far the only – woman to be honored with interment in the Panthéon on her own merits. HP Pavilion dv7-4022tx Battery

Her laboratory is preserved at the Musée Curie.

Because of their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890s are considered too dangerous to handle. Even her cookbook is highly radioactive. They are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing.[42]HP Pavilion dv7-4023so Battery



The physical and societal aspects of the work of the Curies contributed substantially to shaping the world of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Cornell University professorL. Pearce Williams observes: HP Pavilion dv7-4024so Battery


The result of the Curies' work was epoch-making. Radium's radioactivity was so great that it could not be ignored. It seemed to contradict the principle of the conservation of energy and therefore forced a reconsideration of the foundations of physics. HP Pavilion dv7-4024tx Battery

On the experimental level the discovery of radium provided men like Ernest Rutherford with sources of radioactivity with which they could probe the structure of the atom. As a result of Rutherford's experiments with alpha radiation, the nuclear atom was first postulated. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked.[29]HP Pavilion dv7-4025eo Battery


(See physics, conservation of energy, Ernest Rutherford, atom, alpha decay, atomic nucleus.)

If the work of Marie Curie helped overturn established ideas in physics and chemistry, it has had an equally profound effect in the societal sphere. To attain her scientific achievements, she had to overcome barriers that were placed in her way because she was a woman, in both her native and her adoptive country. HP Pavilion dv7-4025ew Battery

This aspect of her life and career is highlighted in Françoise Giroud's Marie Curie: A Life, which emphasizes Curie's role as a feminist precursor. She was ahead of her time, emancipated, independent, and in addition uncorrupted. Albert Einstein is reported to have remarked that she was probably the only person who was not corrupted by the fame that she had won.[43]HP Pavilion dv7-4025ss Battery

As one of the most famous female scientists to date, Marie Curie has become an icon in the scientific world and has received tributes from across the globe. In 1995, she became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon, Paris, alongside her husband Pierre Curie. HP Pavilion dv7-4025tx Battery

The curie (symbol Ci), a unit of radioactivity, is named in honour of her and Pierre,[49][50] as is the element with atomic number 96 – curium. Three radioactive minerals are also named after the Curies: curite, sklodowskite, and cuprosklodowskite. HP Pavilion dv7-4026eo Battery


Curie's likeness appeared on the Polish late-1980s inflationary 20,000-złoty banknote. Her likeness also has appeared on stamps and coins, as well as on the last French 500-francnote, before the franc was replaced by the euro. In a 2009 poll carried out by New Scientist, Marie Curie was voted the "most inspirational woman in science". Curie received 25.1 per cent of all votes cast, nearly twice as many as second-place Rosalind Franklin(14.2 per cent).[51][52]HP Pavilion dv7-4026tx Battery

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Pierre CurieBorn in Paris, France, Pierre was the son of Dr. Eugène Curie (28 August 1827 – 25 February 1910)' and Sophie-Claire Depouilly Curie (15 January 1832 – 27 September 1897). He was educated by his father, HP Pavilion dv7-4028tx Battery

and in his early teens showed a strong aptitude for mathematics and geometry. When he was 16, he earned his math degree. By the age of 18 he had completed the equivalent of a higher degree, but did not proceed immediately to a doctorate due to lack of money. Instead he worked as a laboratory instructor. HP Pavilion dv7-4027tx Battery

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In 1880, Pierre and his older brother Jacques (1856–1941) demonstrated that an electric potential was generated when crystals were compressed, i.e. piezoelectricity. To aid their work, they invented the Piezoelectic Quartz Electrometer. HP Pavilion dv7-4030ed Battery

Shortly afterwards, in 1881, they demonstrated the reverse effect: that crystals could be made to deform when subject to an electric field. Almost all digital electronic circuits now rely on this in the form of crystal oscillators. [1]HP Pavilion dv7-4029tx Battery


Prior to his famous doctoral studies on magnetism, he designed and perfected an extremely sensitive torsion balance for measuring magnetic coefficients. Variations on this equipment were commonly used by future workers in that area. Pierre Curie studiedferromagnetism, paramagnetism, and diamagnetism for his doctoral thesis, and discovered the effect of temperature on paramagnetism which is now known as Curie's law. HP Pavilion dv7-4030ek Battery

The material constant in Curie's law is known as the Curie constant. He also discovered that ferromagnetic substances exhibited a critical temperature transition, above which the substances lost their ferromagnetic behavior. This is now known as theCurie point. HP Pavilion dv7-4030em Battery


Pierre formulated what is now known as the Curie Dissymmetry Principle: a physical effect cannot have a dissymmetry absent from its efficient cause. For example, a random mixture of sand in zero gravity has no dissymmetry (it is isotropic). HP Pavilion dv7-4030er Battery

Introduce agravitational field, then there is a dissymmetry because of the direction of the field. Then the sand grains can ‘self-sort’ with the density increasing with depth. But this new arrangement, with the directional arrangement of sand grains, actually reflects the dissymmetry of the gravitational field that causes the separation. HP Pavilion dv7-4030ew Battery


Pierre worked with his wife Marie Curie in isolating polonium and radium. They were the first to use the term "radioactivity", and were pioneers in its study. Their work, including Marie's celebrated doctoral work, made use of a sensitive piezoelectric electrometerconstructed by Pierre and his brother Jacques. HP Pavilion dv7-4030ss Battery


Pierre and one of his students made the first discovery of nuclear energy, by identifying the continuous emission of heat from radium particles. He also investigated the radiation emissions of radioactive substances, and through the use of magnetic fields was able to show that some of the emissions were positively charged, some were negative and some were neutral. These correspond to alpha, beta and gamma radiation. HP Pavilion dv7-4031eo Battery


The curie is a unit of radioactivity (3.7 x 1010 decays per second or 37 gigabecquerels) originally named in honor of Curie by the Radiology Congress in 1910, after his death. Subsequently, there has been some controversy over whether the naming was in honor of Pierre, Marie, or both.[2]HP Pavilion dv7-4031sd Battery


In the late years of the nineteenth century, Pierre Curie was investigating the mysteries of ordinary magnetism and simultaneously became aware of the spiritualistic experiments of other European scientists, such as Charles Ritchet and Camille Flammarion. Pierre Curie initially thought that systematic investigations into the paranormal would help him with some unanswered questions about magnetism (Hurwic 1995, p. 65).[3]HP Pavilion dv7-4031tx Battery

 He wrote to his fiancée Marie, "I must admit that those spiritual phenomena intensely interest me. I think in them are questions that deal with physics" (Hurwic 1995, p. 66) Pierre Curie's notebooks from this period show he read many books on spiritualism. (Hurwic 1995, p. 68) HP Pavilion dv7-4032eo Battery


About some séances with Eusapia Palladino, Pierre Curie wrote to physicist Georges Gouy in a letter dated July 24, 1905 (Hurwic 1995, p. 248): HP Pavilion dv7-4033tx Battery


"We had at the Psychology Society a few séances with the medium Eusapia Paladino. It was very interesting, and truly those phenomena that we have witnessed seemed to us to not be some magical tricks—a table lifted four feet above the floor, movements of objects, feelings of hands that pinched you or caressed you, apparitions of light. HP Pavilion dv7-4034tx Battery

All this in a room arranged by us, with a small number of spectators all well known and without the presence of a possible accomplice. Cheating would only be possible if the medium had extraordinary abilities as a magician. But how to explain the different phenomena when we are holding her hands and legs, and the lighting of the room is sufficient to see everything going on?" HP Pavilion dv7-4035es Battery


Pierre did not go to séances as a mere spectator, and his goal certainly was not to communicate with some spirits. He saw the séances as scientific experiments, tried to monitor different parameters, took detailed notes of every observation. (Hurwic 1995, p. 247) HP Pavilion dv7-4035sa Battery


Personal life

Pierre and Marie Curie's daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and their son-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie were also physicists involved in the study of radioactivity. They also were awarded a Nobel prize for their work.

The Curies' other daughter, Ève, wrote a noted biography of her mother. HP Pavilion dv7-4035so Battery


Their granddaughter Hélène Langevin-Joliot is a professor of nuclear physics at theUniversity of Paris, and their grandson Pierre Joliot, who was named after Pierre Curie, is a noted biochemist. HP Pavilion dv7-4035tx Battery


Pierre Curie died in a street accident in Paris on 19 April 1906. Crossing the busy Rue Dauphine in the rain at the Quai de Conti, he slipped and fell under a heavy horse drawn cart. He died instantly when one of the wheels ran over his head, fracturing his skull.[4]HP Pavilion dv7-4036tx Battery


In April 1995 Pierre and Marie were enshrined in the crypt of the Panthéon in Paris.

Irène Joliot-Curie

Irène Joliot-Curie (12 September 1897 – 17 March 1956) was a French scientist, thedaughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie and the wife of Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Jointly with her husband, Joliot-Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. This made the Curies the family with most Nobel laureates to date.[1] Both children of the Joliot-Curies, Hélène and Pierre, are also esteemed scientists.[2]HP Pavilion dv7-4038ca Battery


Curie was born in Paris. After a year of traditional education, which began when she was 6 years old, her parents realized her obvious mathematical talent and decided that Irène’s academic abilities needed a more challenging environment. Marie joined forces with a number of eminent French scholars, HP Pavilion dv7-4038tx Battery

including the prominent French physicist Paul Langevin to form “The Cooperative,” a private gathering of some of the most distinguished academics in France. Each contributed to educating one another’s children in their respective homes. HP Pavilion dv7-4040ed Battery

The curriculum of The Cooperative was varied and included not only the principles of science and scientific research but such diverse subjects as Chinese and sculpture and with great emphasis placed on self expression and play. HP Pavilion dv7-4039tx Battery

This arrangement lasted for two years after which Curie re-entered a more orthodox learning environment at the Collège Sévigné in central Paris from 1912 to 1914 and then onto the Faculty of Science at the Sorbonne, to complete her Baccalaureate. Her studies at the Faculty of Science were interrupted by World War I. HP Pavilion dv7-4040ek Battery



Initially, Curie was taken by her mother to Brittany, but a year later when she turned 18 she was re-united with her mother, running the 20 mobile field hospitals that Marie had established. The hospitals were equipped with primitive X-ray equipment made possible by the Curies’ radiochemical research. HP Pavilion dv7-4040sa Battery

This technology greatly assisted doctors to locate shrapnel in wounded soldiers, but it was crude and led to both Marie and Irène, who were serving as nurse radiographers, to suffer large doses of radiation exposure. HP Pavilion dv7-4040sb Battery


After the War, Curie returned to Paris to study at The Radium Institute, which had been built by her parents. The institute was completed in 1914 but remained empty during the war. Her doctoral thesis was concerned with the alpha rays of polonium, the second element discovered by her parents and named after Marie’s country of birth, Poland. Curie became Doctor of Science in 1925. HP Pavilion dv7-4040sf Battery



As she neared the end of her doctorate in 1924 she was asked to teach the precise laboratory techniques required for radiochemical research to the young chemical engineerFrédéric Joliot whom she would later come to wed. HP Pavilion dv7-4040sp Battery

From 1928 Joliot-Curie and husband Frédéric combined their research interests on the study of atomic nuclei. Though their experiments identified both the positron and the neutron, they failed to interpret the significance of the results and the discoveries were later claimed by C.D. Anderson and James Chadwick respectively. HP Pavilion dv7-4040ss Battery

These discoveries would have secured greatness indeed, as together with J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron in 1897, they finally replaced Dalton’s theory of atoms being solid spherical particles. HP Pavilion dv7-4040tx Battery

Finally, in 1934 they made the discovery that sealed their place in scientific history. Building on the work of Marie and Pierre, who had isolated naturally occurring radioactive elements, Joliot-Curies realized the alchemist’s dream of turning one element into another, HP Pavilion dv7-4045ea Battery

creating radioactive nitrogen from boron and then radioactive isotopes of phosphorus fromaluminum and silicon from magnesium. For example, irradiating the main natural and stable isotope of aluminum with alpha particles (i.e. helium nuclei) results in an unstable isotope of phosphorus : 27Al + 4He → 30P + 1n.[3][4][5] HP Pavilion dv7-4045eb Battery

By now the application of radioactive materials for use in medicine was growing and this discovery led to an ability to create radioactive materials quickly, cheaply and plentifully. The Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 brought with it fame and recognition from the scientific community and Joliot-Curie was awarded a professorship at the Faculty of Science. HP Pavilion dv7-4045er Battery

Irène’s group pioneered research into radium nuclei that led a separate group of German physicists to discover nuclear fission; the splitting of the nucleus itself and the vast amounts of energy emitted as a result. HP Pavilion dv7-4047ea Battery


The years of working so closely with such deadly materials finally caught up with Joliot-Curie and she was diagnosed with leukemia. She had been accidentally exposed topolonium when a sealed capsule of the element exploded on her laboratory bench in 1946. HP Pavilion dv7-4050ea Battery

Treatment with antibiotics and a series of operations did relieve her suffering temporarily but her condition continued to deteriorate. Despite this Joliot-Curie continued to work and in 1955 drew up plans for new physics laboratories at the Universitie d’Orsay, South of Paris. HP Pavilion dv7-4050eb Battery



The Joliot-Curies had become increasingly aware of the growth of the fascist movement. They opposed its ideals and joined the Socialist Party in 1934, the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes a year later, and in 1936 actively supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. HP Pavilion dv7-4050ec Battery

In the same year, Joliot-Curie was appointed Undersecretary of State for Scientific Research for the French government where she helped in founding the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. HP Pavilion dv7-4050ed Battery


The Joliot-Curies had continued Pierre and Marie’s policy of publishing all of their work for the benefit of the global scientific community, but afraid of the danger that might result should it be developed for military use, they stopped. On 30 October 1939 they placed all of their documentation on nuclear fission in the vaults of the Académie des Sciences where it remained until 1949. HP Pavilion dv7-4050ei Battery


Joliot-Curie's political career continued after the war and she became a commissioner in the Commissariat à l'énergie Atomique. However, she still found time for scientific work and in 1946 became director of her mother’s Institut du Radium, Radium Institute. HP Pavilion dv7-4050em Battery


Joliot-Curie became actively involved in promoting women’s education, serving on the National Committee of the Union of French Women (Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises) and the World Peace Council. Joliot-Curies were given memberships to the French Légion d'honneur; Irène as an officer and Frederic as a commissioner, recognising his earlier work for the resistance. HP Pavilion dv7-4050eo Battery


Irène and Frédéric hyphenated their surnames to Joliot-Curie after they married in 1926. Eleven months later, their daughter Hélène was born, who would also become a noted physicist. Their son, Pierre, a biologist, was born in 1932. HP Pavilion dv7-4050er Battery


During World War II Joliot-Curie contracted tuberculosis and was forced to spend several years convalescing in Switzerland. Concern for her own health together with the anguish of leaving her husband and children in occupied France was hard to bear and she did make several dangerous visits back to France, HP Pavilion dv7-4050ev Battery

enduring detention by German troops at the Swiss border on more than one occasion. Finally, in 1944 Joliot-Curie judged it too dangerous for her family to remain in France and she took her children back to Switzerland. HP Pavilion dv7-4050ez Battery


In 1956, after a final convalescent period in the French Alps, Joliot-Curie was admitted to the Curie hospital in Paris where she died on 17 March at the age of 58 from leukemia.[6]HP Pavilion dv7-4050sg Battery

Joliot-Curie's daughter, Hélène Langevin-Joliot, is a nuclear physicist and professor at theUniversity of Paris; her son, Pierre Joliot, is a biochemist at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. HP Pavilion dv7-4050sy Battery



Born in Paris, France, he was a graduate of the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris.[1] In 1925 he became an assistant to Marie Curie, at the Radium Institute. He fell in love with her daughter Irène Curie, HP Pavilion dv7-4051nr Battery

and soon after their marriage in 1926 they both changed their surnames to Joliot-Curie. At the insistence of Marie, Joliot-Curie obtained a second baccalauréat, a bachelor's degree, and a doctorate in science, doing his thesis on the electrochemistry of radio-elements. HP Pavilion dv7-4051sg Battery


While a lecturer at the Paris Faculty of Science, he collaborated with his wife on research on the structure of the atom, in particular on the projection of nuclei, which was an essential step in the discovery of the neutron. In 1935 they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. HP Pavilion dv7-4052sg Battery


In 1937 he left the Radium Institute to become a professor at the Collège de Franceworking on chain reactions and the requirements for the successful construction of anuclear reactor that uses controlled nuclear fission to generate energy through the use ofuranium and heavy water. HP Pavilion dv7-4053cl Battery

Joliot-Curie was one of the scientists mentioned in Albert Einstein's letter to President Roosevelt as one of the leading scientists on the course tochain reactions. The Second World War, however, largely stalled Joliot's research, as did his subsequent post-war administrative duties. HP Pavilion dv7-4053eg Battery


At the time of the Nazi invasion in 1940, Joliot-Curie managed to smuggle his working documents and materials to England with Hans von Halban and Lew Kowarski. During the French occupation he took an active part in the French Resistance as a member of theNational Front. Collins and LaPierre in their book Is Paris Burning? HP Pavilion dv7-4054ca Battery

note that during the Paris uprising in August 1944 he served in the Prefecture of Police manufacturing for his fellow insurgents Molotov cocktails, the resistants principal weapon against German tanks. The Prefecture was the scene of some of the most intense fighting during the uprising. HP Pavilion dv7-4054eg Battery



After the Liberation, he served as director of the French National Center for Scientific Research, and appointed by Charles De Gaulle in 1945, he became France's first High Commissioner for Atomic Energy. In 1944 French physicists, Pierre Auger and Jules Gueron were working on the British nuclear weapons research program at Chalk River in Canada. HP Pavilion dv7-4055sf Battery

As France was being liberat

ed by the Normandy invasion, they returned to France to inform Frederic Joliot-Curie of the progress of the American/British nuclear weapon program. Frederic passed on that information to his Soviet friends. HP Pavilion dv7-4055sg Battery

In 1948 he oversaw the construction of the first French atomic reactor. A devout communist, he was relieved of his duties in 1950 for political reasons. Joliot-Curie was also one of the eleven signatories to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto in 1955. Although he retained his professorship at the Collège de France, on the death of his wife in 1956, he took over her position as Chair of Nuclear Physics at the Sorbonne. HP Pavilion dv7-4057ca Battery


Joliot-Curie was a member of the French Academy of Sciences and of the Academy of Medicine and named a Commander of the Legion of Honour. He was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize in 1951 for his work as president of the World Council of Peace. HP Pavilion dv7-4057sf Battery



In Giving an Account of Oneself, Butler develops an ethics based on the opacity of the subject to itself; in other words, the limits of self-knowledge. Primarily borrowing fromTheodor Adorno, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Laplanche, Adriana Cavareroand Emmanuel Levinas, Butler develops a theory of the formation of the subject. HP Pavilion dv7-4058ca Battery

She theorizes the subject in relation to the social – a community of others and their norms – which is beyond the control of the subject it forms, as precisely the very condition of that subject’s formation, the resources by which the subject becomes recognizably human, a grammatical "I", in the first place. HP Pavilion dv7-4060eb Battery


Butler accepts the claim that if the subject is opaque to itself the limitations of its free ethical responsibility and obligations are due to the limits of narrative, presuppositions of language and projection. "You may think that I am in fact telling a story about the prehistory of the subject, one that I have been arguing cannot be told. There are two responses to this objection. HP Pavilion dv7-4060em Battery

(1) That there is no final or adequate narrative reconstruction of the prehistory of the speaking "I" does not mean we cannot narrate it; it only means that at the moment when we narrate we become speculative philosophers or fiction writers. (2) HP Pavilion dv7-4060si Battery

This prehistory has never stopped happening and, as such, is not a prehistory in any chronological sense. It is not done with, over, relegated to a past, which then becomes part of a causal or narrative reconstruction of the self. On the contrary, that prehistory interrupts the story I have to give of myself, HP Pavilion dv7-4060us Battery

makes every account of myself partial and failed, and constitutes, in a way, my failure to be fully accountable for my actions, my final "irresponsibility," one for which I may be forgiven only because I could not do otherwise. This not being able to do otherwise is our common predicament" (page 78). HP Pavilion dv7-4061nr Battery

Instead she argues for an ethics based precisely on the limits of self-knowledge as the limits of responsibility itself.[citation needed] Any concept of responsibility which demands the full transparency of the self to itself, an entirely accountable self, HP Pavilion dv7-4063ca Battery

 necessarily does violence to the opacity which marks the constitution of the self it addresses. The scene of address by which responsibility is enabled is always already a relation between subjects who are variably opaque to themselves and to each other. HP Pavilion dv7-4065dx Battery

The ethics that Butler envisions is therefore one in which the responsible self knows the limits of its knowing, recognizes the limits of its capacity to give an account of itself to others, and respects those limits as symptomatically human.[citation needed] HP Pavilion dv7-4065ei Battery

To take seriously one's opacity to oneself in ethical deliberation means then to critically interrogate the social world in which one comes to be human in the first place and which remains precisely that which one cannot know about oneself. In this way, Butler locates social and political critique at the core of ethical practice.[citation needed]HP Pavilion dv7-4065ez Battery



Many scholars have praised Butler's work. She has been referred to as "a big-deal academic, ... and oft-cited academic superstar",[37] "the most famous feminist philosopher in the United States," "the queer theorist par excellence," and "the most brilliantly eclectic theorist of sexuality in recent years."[38] In addition, Lois McNay argues that, "Butler's work has influenced feminist understandings of gender identity (1999: 175)."[38]HP Pavilion dv7-4065sf Battery

 Others, such as Susan A. Speer and Jonathan Potter claim that her research has given new insight in several areas, especially in the concept of heterosexism. However, although Speer and Potter find Butler’s work useful in this respect, they find her work too abstract to be usefully applied to “real-life situations.” For this reason, they pair a reading of Butler with Discursive psychology in order to extend Butler’s ideas to real-world scenarios.[39]HP Pavilion dv7-4065si Battery


Others are more critical. Susan Bordo has chastised Butler for reducing gender to language, arguing that the body is a major part of gender, thus implicitly opposing her conception of gender as performed.[40] Peter Digeser argues that Butler’s idea of performativity is too pure to account for identity. Digeser doubts that pure performativity is possible, HP Pavilion dv7-4066sf Battery

suggesting that in viewing the gendered individual as purely performed, Butler ignores the gendered body, which Bordo also argues is extremely important. He also argues that neither an essentialist nor a performative notion of gender should be used in the political sphere, HP Pavilion dv7-4067sf Battery

as both simplify gender too much.[41] Martha Nussbaum has argued that Butler misreads J.L. Austin's idea of performative utterance, makes erroneous legal claims, forecloses an essential site of resistance by repudiating pre-cultural agency, HP Pavilion dv7-4069wm Battery

and provides no normative ethical theory to direct the subversive performances that Butler endorses.[42] Finally, Nancy Fraser argued that Butler’s focus on performativity has distanced her from “everyday ways of talking and thinking about ourselves … Why should we use such a self-distancing idiom?”[43]HP Pavilion dv7-4070eb Battery



Butler has become famous in some circles for her "impenetrable, jargon-ridden prose,"[44]which has also generated some controversy, according to Sara Salih, lecturer in English at the University of Kent at Canterbury.[45] The author ascribes this to the fact that the concepts she writes about are "philosophically challenging, often ‘counter-intuitive’, and not always described in immediately accessible language."[46]HP Pavilion dv7-4070eo Battery


Harvard professor Steven Pinker, has cited her work as an example of confused,Postmodernist writing that detracts from the public appreciation and support of art.[47]HP Pavilion dv7-4070er Battery


In 1998, Denis Dutton's journal Philosophy and Literature gave Butler First Prize in its "Bad Writing Competition," which claims to "celebrate bad writing from the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles."[48] Butler's 94 word long sentence, published in the journal Diacritics, for which she received the award was: HP Pavilion dv7-4070ez Battery


The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, HP Pavilion dv7-4070sf Battery

and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power. HP Pavilion dv7-4070us Battery


Dutton discontinued the contest after being criticized for its apparently hostile spirit.[49]Butler responded to Dutton's criticism, with a letter to the London Review of Books and an op-ed piece for The New York Times. She argued that writing clearly can make the author too reliant on common sense and as such make language lose its potential to "shape the world" and shake up the status quo.[50][51]HP Pavilion dv7-4071nr Battery


Stanley Kurtz, in turn, argued against Butler's op-ed in a letter to the New York Timestitled, "Bad Writing Has No Defense."[52] Stephen K. Roney also responded that "many—indeed, most—generally recognized “great thinkers” have been clear and lucid in their writing [...] Is Butler claiming to be deeper than all of them?"[53]HP Pavilion dv7-4073ca Battery


Nussbaum's "The Professor of Parody" essay also raised the issue of Butler's style, calling it "ponderous and obscure" and "dense with allusions to other theorists, drawn from a wide range of different theoretical traditions... HP Pavilion dv7-4073nr Battery

It bullies the reader into granting that, since one cannot figure out what is going on, there must be something significant going on, some complexity of thought, where in reality there are often familiar or even shopworn notions, addressed too simply and too casually to add any new dimension of understanding."[54]HP Pavilion dv7-4074ca Battery


In 1999, politically conservative literary journal The New Criterion cited Butler as one of a "triumvirate of absurd figures" including Homi K. Bhabha and Fredric Jameson, for bad writing.[55]HP Pavilion dv7-4075sb Battery

Political activism

In "No, It's Not Anti-Semitic," an August 2003 article published in the London Review of Books, Butler argued against statements by Harvard President Lawrence Summers who suggested that certain forms of criticism of Israeli policies is a form of anti-semitism. HP Pavilion dv7-4075sf Battery

She responded by stating that it "will not do to equate Jews with Zionists or Jewishness with Zionism" and argued against the notion that Jews such as herself who were critical of Israeli policies are "self-hating." She also referred to Post-Zionism as a "small but important" movement in Israel. HP Pavilion dv7-4077cl Battery

In addition, Butler also argued that, "a challenge to the right of Israel to exist can be construed as a challenge to the existence of the Jewish people only if one believes that Israel alone keeps the Jewish people alive or that all Jews invest their sense of perpetuity in the state of Israel in its current or traditional forms.” [56]HP Pavilion dv7-4078ca Battery


In a later 2004 article, "Jews and the Bi-National Vision," published in Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture, Butler attributes this vision to the writings of Martin Buber.[57]On September 7, 2006, Butler participated in a faculty-organized teach-in at the University of California, Berkeley, against the 2006 Lebanon War.[58][dead link] Butler is also a strong supporter of the 2005 international economic campaign, BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions).[5]HP Pavilion dv7-4080er Battery

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In June 2010 Judith Butler refused the Civil Courage Award (Zivilcouragepreis) of theChristopher Street Day Parade in Berlin, Germany at the award ceremony, citing racist comments on the part of organizers and a general failure of CSD organizations to distance themselves from racism, HP Pavilion dv7-4080ss Battery

and from anti-Muslim excuses for war specifically. Criticizing the event's commercialism, she went on to name several groups who she commended as stronger opponents of "homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, and militarism".[59]HP Pavilion dv7-4080us Battery

In October 2011, Butler attended Occupy Wall Street and, in reference to calls for clarification of the protesters' demands, said, "People have asked, so what are the demands? What are the demands all of these people are making? Either they say there are no demands and that leaves your critics confused, HP Pavilion dv7-4083cl Battery

or they say that the demands for social equality and economic justice are impossible demands. And the impossible demands, they say, are just not practical. If hope is an impossible demand, then we demand the impossible — that the right to shelter, food and employment are impossible demands, then we demand the impossible. If it is impossible to demand that those who profit from the recession redistribute their wealth and cease their greed, then yes, we demand the impossible." [60]HP Pavilion dv7-4085eb Battery

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Undoing Gender collects Butler's reflections on gender, sex, sexuality, psychoanalysis and the medical treatment of intersex people for a more general readership than many of her other books. Butler revisits and refines her notion of performativity and focuses on the question of undoing "restrictively normative conceptions of sexual and gendered life".HP Pavilion dv7-4085sf Battery

Butler discusses how gender is performed without one being conscious of it, but says that it does not mean this performativity is "automatic or mechanical". She argues that we have desires that do not originate from our personhood, but rather, from social norms. HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl Battery

The writer also debates our notions of "human" and "less-than-human" and how these culturally imposed ideas can keep one from having a "viable life" as the biggest concerns are usually about whether a person will be accepted if his or her desires differ from normality. HP Pavilion dv7-4090ca Battery

She states that one may feel the need of being recognized in order to live, but that at the same time, the conditions to be recognized make life "unlivable". The writer proposes an interrogation of such conditions so that people who resist them may have more possibilities of living.[35]HP Pavilion dv7-4090eb Battery

In her discussion of intersex, Butler addresses the case of David Reimer, a person whose sex was medically "reassigned" from male to female after a botched circumcision at eight months of age. Reimer was "made" female by doctors, but later in life identified as "really" male, married and became a stepfather to his wife's 3 children, and went on to tell his story in As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl which he wrote with John Colapinto. Reimer committed suicide in 2004.[36]HP Pavilion dv7-4090es Battery

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