Google Doodle: 140th Birth Anniversary Of Romanian Physicist Ștefania Mărăcineanu

Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to Ștefania Mărăcineanu, the Romanian physicist and pioneer in the discovery and research of radioactivity. Born on 18 June 1882 in Bucharest, today is her 140th birthday and Google wants people to know about her contribution to science.


• Ștefania Mărăcineanu established the link between earthquakes and rainfall
• She worked on polonium, an element that Curie discovered
• She founded the first laboratory in Romania for the study of radioactivity
• Academy of Sciences of Romania recognized her work in 1936

Early Life

Not much is known about her early life. She graduated in physics and chemistry in 1910. She taught science at the Central School for Girls in Bucharest. While teaching, she earned a scholarship from the Romanian Ministry of Science and decided to pursue graduate research at the Radium Institute in Paris.

Romanian Physicist Ștefania Mărăcineanu

Research Work

At the radium institute, she worked under the direction of physicist Marie Curie. She did her Ph.D. thesis on polonium, an element discovered by Curie. While working on the half-life of polonium, she noticed that the half-life was dependent on the metal type polonium was placed on. She wondered whether some atoms of the metal got transferred into radioisotopes by polonium alpha rays. Her observation led to the discovery of the first example of artificial radioactivity.

Ștefania Mărăcineanu completed her Ph.D. in physics in just two years from Sorbonne University in Paris and worked for years at the Astronomical Observatory in Meudon. After that, she returned to her homeland Romania and founded the first laboratory in Romania for the study of radioactivity.

Mărăcineanu researched artificial rain and even went to Algeria to test her results. She also studied the link between earthquakes and rainfall and became the first to report that a significant increase in radioactivity at the epicenter leads to earthquakes.

Later Life

In 1935, Marie Curie’s daughter Irène Currie and her husband were awarded a joint Nobel Prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. While Ștefania Mărăcineanu didn’t challenge the prize despite playing a crucial role in the discovery, she asked that her role be recognized.

In 1936, the Academy of Sciences of Romania recognized her work and even elected her as the Director of Research, but she never received the global recognition that she deserved.


Ștefania Mărăcineanu died in 1944 from cancer reportedly due to radiation exposure. She rests in peace at Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest.


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