Frederic Joliot, Hans Halban and Lew Kowarski, c 1939.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Joliot, Halban and Kowarski working with a cloud chamber. French physicist Joliot (1900-1958) began work as Marie Curie's (1867-1934) asistant in 1925. In 1926, he married her other asistant, her daughter Irene (1897-1956). Together, they worked on aritificial radioactivity. After France was invaded by the Germans, Joliot arranged for the world supply of heavy water (used as a moderator in atomic piles) to be moved to the UK. After the war he directed work on France's first atomic pile, which began operations in 1948. However, his communist sympathies and eccentric character led to his removal as High Commisioner of Atomic Energy in 1950. He shared the Nobel Prize in 1935 with his wife. (Copyright must be cleared with Radium Institute, Paris.)