Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
Natural radioactivity
Name of the teacher
Mária Fabianová
Country where it took place
School typology
Lower Secondary School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
Students already have a rough idea of radioactive radiation although its effect on humans is not that known for them. They live in completely different age and my effort to say them that what they have in their heads is the most valuable is totally unnecessary. Speed of the development in technique totally overcame the discoveries that from biological point of view are very recent. Sometimes I have to recall them that some facts from physics, chemistry and mathematics are thousands of years old because they do not have any timeline at which they could understand the point we are at.
Natural radioactivity is a spontaneous process which cannot be influenced. It is spontaneous decay of atom’s nucleus of heavy elements. In thoses elements is nucleus so heavy and so small that nucleus powers cannot hold particles which are in it. The nucleus breaks down and the new one is created and a particle is radiated. This is actually the radioactive radiation. We know three types of radiation: alfa – the least dangerous for human, even paper can stop it, then it is beta radiation which is a stream of fast-flying electrons and the final one is gama radiation which is lethal for human. It can be used in medicine for oncologic diseases for radiation therapy to the affected area. Natural radioactivity was discovered at the end of 19th century by French physicist Henri Becqerel but he did not study it further.
At this time as a first woman came a polish student Maria Sklodowska to study at Sorbonne in Paris. She applied at faculty of physics and chemistry and later she studied also mathematics. She went to a daily study programme and the rest of the day she worked to earn for study in a lab. History repeats itself and our students work too but during the school and to ear for a car.
She married Piere Curie and so later her name was created – Madam Curie.
Along with her husband she analysed an ore which was named as pitchblende and which was mined from the Czech Republic in Jáchymov. They worked under difficult conditions in wooden building where they had to break the ore. They did not know anything about properties of radiation and worked without protective equipment.
Their results were excellent and Sklodowska gained two Nobel prizes, for research in radioactivity and for discovery of two new chemical elements – polonium and radium. She named polonium after Poland and radium means radiation. She had two daughters, one of them later gained Nobel prize for discovery of artificial radioactivity. It is difficult to imagine how could she manage such difficult scientific work and raise such successful children. Unfortunately her husband died in an accident on a street, he was knocked by carriage of horses. Students are surprised that it was not a car.
Despite the fact that Sklodowska held two Nobel prizes, Sorbonne did not want to allow her to work as a professor after her husband because she was a woman and at that time it was unimaginable.
After all, she joined the university as a professor.
After discovery of therapeutic effects of radioactive radiation she travelled and helped to establish Cancer Institute.
She was very famous in many countries and in USA she was welcomed with a big glory.
Because she worked with a radioactive materials in a long term and did not use any protection, she died at the age of 67 for acute leukaemia.
I do not know how student think about this topic whether as an another topic from the textbook or as an exceptionally successful life of one person who died due to his scientific work.

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Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.