Ştefania Mărăcineanu (1882 – 1944) was one of the great physicists of Romania. She created the first Radioactivity Laboratory in the country, using a equipment she bought with his own money. She was the first scientist to identify the phenomenon of artificial radioactivity, for which Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie won the Nobel Prize. She first reported that on the eve of an earthquake, radioactivity increased in the epicenter and discovered the process of triggering artificial rain, with the help of radioactive salts, and established the link between earthquakes and precipitation.
He attended high school at the Normal School “Elena Doamna” and the Central School in Bucharest, graduated in 1903, and university at the Faculty of Physical and Chemical Sciences of the University of Bucharest, where he took his bachelor’s exam in 1910, then follows the radioactivity classes held by Marie Curie at the Sorbonne, she sustain her doctorate in 1924, with the thesis Research on the constancy of polonium and on the penetration in metals, receiving the qualification «Très Honorable». The auditorium consisted of many students, teachers or physicists who filled to the brim the amphitheater where the scientist held her dissertation. Among them was Marie Curie, who co-opted her into her team. “Miss Mărăcineanu worked in my laboratory for several years and recently obtained the title of doctor in physical sciences. I especially appreciate her scientific work. ”
After obtaining his doctorate, he also worked at the observatories in Paris, where he demonstrated that lead subjected to solar radiation for centuries became radioactive. He used pieces from the roof of the 300-year-old Paris Astronomical Observatory to experiment. The results were published in the journal “Comptes Rendus des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris”.
Appointed, in 1925, assistant professor at the Faculty of Sciences in Bucharest, in the laboratory of professor Christache Musceleanu, she created here the first Radioactivity Laboratory in the country, using the equipment bought with her own money. Working on her doctoral thesis, Ştefania Mărăcineanu identified the phenomenon of artificial radioactivity. The research has been published in several journals. The process was explained physically and mathematically by Irène Joliot-Curie and her husband, the discovery being crowned with the awarding of the Nobel Prize to the two personalities. The merits of the Romanian physicist were recognized by Maria Curie’s daughter in an article published in the “Neues Wiener Journal”, on June 5, 1934: “We remember that the Romanian scientist, Miss Mărăcineanu, announced in 1924 the discovery of artificial radioactivity.” A timid, more formal recognition, because, in reality, Ştefania Mărăcineanu had made not just a simple information, but scientific demonstrations, in front of an enthusiastic and numerous university assistance. The physicist did not protest, although the Nobel was practically blown away. In 1925, she returned for a short time to the country, where she had been appointed assistant to Professor Cristache Musceleanu at the University of Bucharest, but then continued to work for the Marie Curie Laboratory and the Meudon and Paris Observatories until 1930.
Ştefania Mărăcineanu also dealt with meteorological phenomena, managing, with the support of professors Bungeţianu and Vasile Karpen and aviator Bâzu Cantacuzino, to discover the process of triggering artificial rain with the help of radioactive salts and to establish the link between earthquakes and precipitation. In 1931 it caused the first artificial rain in the world in Bărăgan (Romania), continuing research in Algeria, with the support of the French government. Reported for the first time that on the eve of an earthquake, radioactivity increases in the epicenter area