Irène Curie studies at the Faculty of Science at the Sorbonne, but her education is interrupted by World War I, during which she serves as a nurse radiographer. Later, she earns her doctorate in science, doing her thesis on the alpha rays of polonium.
Irène Curie marries Frédéric Joliot, a young chemical engineer she met at the Radium Institute. The couple decide to join both their surnames. In 1927, their first child is born: Hélène. In 1932, Pièrre, their second child, is born. The couple collaborate on a series of investigations including natural and artificial radioactivity, transmutation of elements and nuclear physics.
In January 1934, Irène Curie-Joliot and Freédéric Joliot announce their breakthrough to the Academy of Sciences: the discovery of artificial radioactivity. By bombarding boron, aluminium, and magnesium with alpha particles, they produce isotopes of the generally stable elements nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon and aluminium that decompose spontaneously by releasing positive or negative electrons.
For four months Irène Joliot-Curie is appointed Undersecretary of State for Scientific Research in the administration of French Prime Minister Léon Blum.
Irène Joliot-Curie is a member of the French Atomic Energy Commission. Joliot-Curie takes part in the creation and in the construction of the first French atomic pile in 1948.
Irène Curie serves for many months as an army nurse, assisting her mother in setting up an apparatus for the radiography of the wounded in an Anglo-Canadian hospital a few miles from the front in Flanders. At the age of eighteen, she has the responsibility for installing radiographic equipment.
Irène Joliot-Curie dies in Curie hospital in Paris of leukaemia, resulting from a lifetime of exposure to radiation. Like her mother, Irène Joliot-Curie produced a further generation of scientists. Hélène Joliot-Curie, married the son of Marie Curie's old companion, Paul Langevin, and, together with her brother, Paul Joliot-Curie, becomes a distinguished physicist.
Joliot-Curie's research on the action of neutrons on the heavy elements is a key step in the discovery of nuclear fission. She experiments with bombarding uranium nuclei with neutrons. With Pavel Savitch, she is able to break down uranium into other radioactive elements. Thanks to her seminal experiment, Otto Hahn proves that uranium bombarded with neutrons can be made to split into two atoms of comparable mass. This fission phenomenon is crucial for the practical applications of nuclear energy.
Irène Curie attends Collège Sévigné, here she receives her baccalauréat just before the outbreak of World War I.
Irène Curie becomes an assistant at the Radium Institute and in 1921 she begins her scientific research. Her first important investigation concerns the fluctuations in the range of αrays. She determines these variations by photographing the tracks that the rays formed in a Wilson cloud chamber.
Irène Joliot-Curie is elected Professor in the Faculty of Science at the Sorbonne. She receives honorary doctor's degrees from several universities. In 1939 Irène Joliot-Curie is employed as an Officer of the Legion of Honor. She takes a keen interest in the social and intellectual advancement of women; she is a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and of the World Peace Council.
Irène Curie, daughter of the French physicists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, is born in Paris. Irène‘s grandfather, Eugène Curie, a convinced freethinker, has a great influence on her atheism and on her attachment to the liberal socialism. She doesn’t attend school until the age of twelve, but for the two preceding years she studies at the teaching cooperative established by some of her mother’s colleagues: Marie Curie teaches physics; Paul Langevin, mathematics; and Jean Perrin, chemistry.
Irène Curie-Joliot shares the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with his husband Frédéric Joliot in recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements. Although they are nuclear physicists, the pair receives an award in chemistry because of their discovery's impact in that area.
Irène Joliot-Curie is named director of the Radium Institute, created for her mother some thirty years before, in which she conducts all her own research. During those years, she is also involved in the inauguration of the large centre for nuclear physics at Orsay, for which she works out the plans.