I think most people have heard of Marie Curie, the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the only person to receive two Nobel prizes in multiple sciences (in Physics in 1903 with her husband and in Chemistry in 1911). Along with her husband, Pierre, Marie developed techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes and discovered two elements, polonium and radium.
What I didn’t know was that Marie and Pierre passed on their scientific legacy to their daughter, Irène Curie (later Joliot-Curie), who continued their work. Along with her husband, Frédéric Joliot, Irène developed a method to turn one element into another. For example, the husband and wife team created radioactive phosphorus from aluminum by irradiating aluminum with alpha particles (but alas, they failed to create gold from other elements). This led to a method to reliably produce radioactive materials quickly and cheaply.
The duo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 for their findings.
Although Irène and Frédéric believed in publishing their work for the benefit of other scientists, they withheld all research involving nuclear fission for 10 years throughout World War II to prevent military use of their research.
Unfortunately Irene suffered the same fate as her mother; both died from accumulation of radiation exposure.
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2014 April A to Z Challenge!