Hélène Langevin-Joliot

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Hélène Langevin-Joliot
Conférence Pierre et Marie Curie 15 septembre 2012 06.jpg
Hélène Langevin-Joliot (2012)
Born (1927-09-19) 19 September 1927 (age 89)
Paris, France
Residence France
Citizenship France
Nationality French
Fields Physics
Institutions CNRS

Parents: Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot Grandparents: Marie and Pierre Curie

Great Uncle: Józef Skłodowski

Great Aunts: Zofia Skłodowska, Bronisława Skłodowska, and Helena Skłodowska.[1]

Hélène Langevin-Joliot (born 19 September 1927) is a French nuclear physicist. She was educated at the IN2P3 (English: Institute of Nuclear Physics and Particles) at Orsay, a laboratory which was set up by her parents Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot-Curie. She is a member of the French government's advisory committee.[2] Currently, she is a professor of nuclear physics at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at the University of Paris and a Director of Research at the CNRS. She is also known for her work in actively encouraging women to pursue careers in scientific fields.[3][4] She is Chairperson of the panel that awards the Marie Curie Excellence award, a prize given to outstanding European researchers.[5] She was President of the French Rationalist Union from 2004 to 2012.[6]


Langevin-Joliot comes from a family of well-known scientists.

  • Her maternal grandparents were Marie and Pierre Curie, famous for their study of radioactivity, for which they won a Nobel Prize in physics with Henri Becquerel in 1903. (Marie Curie was also the first person to win a Nobel Prize in two sciences, the second being for chemistry (1911) with her discovery of radium and polonium.)
  • Her parents, Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie (born Jean Frédéric Joliot) (who was mentored by Marie) and Irène Joliot-Curie (born Irène Curie), won a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity.
  • Her brother Pierre Joliot is a noted biophysicist who has made contributions to the study of photosynthesis.

In response to her family's legacy, Langevin-Joliot regularly grants interviews and gives talks about their history.[4][7] Her knowledge of her family's history led to her writing the introduction to Radiation and Modern Life: Fulfilling Marie Curie's Dream, including a brief history of the Curies.[8]

Her husband, Michel Langevin, was grandson of the famous physicist Paul Langevin (who had an affair with the widowed Marie Curie, Hélène's grandmother, in 1910) and was also a nuclear physicist at the Institute; her son, Yves (b. 1951), is an astrophysicist.[7][9]


  1. ^ "Marie Curie – Polish Girlhood (1867–1891) Part 1". American Institute of Physics. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Rencontre avec Hélène Langevin-Joliot" (in French). canslup.unilim.fr. Retrieved 2010-02-03. [permanent dead link] Google translation
  3. ^ "Madam {sic} Curie's Legacy". best.me.berkely.edu. Archived from the original on 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  4. ^ a b "An Interview with Hélène Langevin-Joliot, the Granddaughter of Pierre and Marie Curie". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  5. ^ "First EU Marie Curie Awards in recognition of world-class achievements in European research". Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  6. ^ "Union rationaliste – Qui sommes-nous ?" (in French). union-rationaliste.org. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  7. ^ a b "Marie & Pierre Curie’s granddaughter, Hélène Langevin-Joliot, visits the United States". Eurekalert.org. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  8. ^ "Radiation and modern life Fulfilling Marie Curie’s dream". Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  9. ^ "Family Records". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-01-24.