Honorable Mentions


ENTRY: MANYA
NAME: Amy Sobota
SCHOOL: UW-Madison

"Manya" was the childhood nickname of Marie Sklodowska-Curie; a woman who did more than anyone to deepen our fundamental understanding of x-rays. For her work in purifying radioactive elements, and discovering and quantifying Radium and Polonium (which she chose to name after her native Poland), Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for both Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911)--the first woman to win a Nobel prize, and the first person to ever win two. The purpose of AXAF is to "collect, observe and analyze x-rays", which is precisely the goal towards which Marie Curie unstintingly worked. This satellite represents enormous progress from the days in which Marie Curie sifted through loads of pitchblende ore to isolate a tiny sample of pure Radium. And yet were she alive today she would see AXAF as a logical extension of the work she pioneered. In addition to her many academic distinctions, Marie Curie was a dedicated humanitarian, eager to establish therapeutic uses for her newly discovered "radiation". She was also a member of the International Commission on Intellectual Co-operation. How fitting then, that a nickname reminiscent of her beloved homeland should be given to a satellite whose purpose is to expand our understanding of x-rays beyond what Marie Curie could ever have dreamed possible--and whose newfound knowledge will be shared with scientists around the world.

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