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Honorable Mentions

NAME: J. Scott Thiel

I chose Marie Curie for several reasons. First, she contributed a great deal to our knowledge of X-rays and radiation through her work with radium and polonium. Second, she was the first to use X-rays for humanitarian reasons, the treatment of broken bones and wounds received by soldiers during WWI. Lastly, her technological application of x-rays, through her portable x-ray machine, provided the foundation through which new methods were developed to detect x-rays and advance new medical procedures. Through her observatory her work will continue to unlock the secrets of the universe.

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NAME: Kin Fung Man

The proposed name for AXAF is Curie X-Ray Observatory in honor of the great woman physicist, Marie Curie (1867-1934), who discovered the two elements, radium and polonium. Madame Curie contributed profoundly to the understanding of radioactivity and her pioneering research in this area has saved many millions of lives with radiation treatment of cancer. Marie Curie was the first woman recipient of the Nobel Prize. In fact, her work in radiation won her not only one, but a remarkable two Nobel Prizes, one in Physics in 1903 and another in chemistry in 1911. Her discoveries have brought immense benefit to humanity. In space, any emission of X-Ray from hot turbulent regions of the universe, such as black holes, supernova explosions, or galactic collisions, is likely also to be accompanied by highly penetrating radiation which Madame Curie has dedicated her entire life to studying. And at the end it was the overexposure to radioactivity, causing leukemia, that terminated her brilliant life. If this name were selected, it would be the first time a space mission has been named in honor of a world renown woman scientist (although the rover Sojourner aboard the highly successful NASA JPL Mars Pathfinder Mission was also named after a very talented woman). With increasing numbers of women entering the rank of scientists and engineers, the naming of a mission to honor a woman is most timely. It is a good opportunity to recognize the achievements of countless anonymous woman scientists and engineers who have made important discoveries and contributions to our society. This would encourage even more women to become scientists and engineers. Marie Curie was the first famous woman pioneer in science, and the naming of this important mission in honor of a highly successful woman scientist will hopefully bring an equally successful X-Ray observation mission, one that even Madame Curie would have been proud to be associated with.

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NAME: Katie Hronek
SCHOOL: Chapparal HS
NEWSPAPER: Gazette (Scottsdale/Mesa, AZ)
She was one of the first scientists to have used X-rays for medical purposes. I guess you could say she is "The Mother of Nuclear Medicine." She used x-rays to discover things about the human body, and the observatory will use x-rays to discover more about the universe. In each case x-rays are used as a tool for scientific discovery. And Marie Curie is a good role model for women and minorities who are under represented in scientific areas. She shows us that we can achieve on our own.

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NAME:Carrie Ryan
SCHOOL: Wellesley College
It is not difficult to convince anybody of Marie Curie's immense contributions to science. She discovered natural radioactivity, as well as the elements Radium and Polonium. She was the first female to be appointed to a professorship at Sorbonne, and was one of the very few women of her time to possess a doctorate at all. In addition to her dedication to science and her research, she was also a tireless humanitarian, --she taught nurses how to use the X-ray technology that she helped pioneer in order to treat the wounded of World War I. The effects of her work continue long after her death in many forms, including cancer treatments, modern genetics, developments of nuclear energy, and this year's AXAF mission. I think it would be most fitting to dedicate this observatory to Marie Curie exactly 100 years after her ground-breaking discovery of Radium. It would be a wonderful tribute to the importance of women in science to name the first mission commanded by a female astronaut (Eileen Collins) after one of the greatest women in science, Marie Curie.

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NAME: Sarah Spergel

Marie Curie was one of the leading physicists on the 20th century. She did pioneering work on the physics of X-rays and was awarded two Nobel prizes, one in physics and one in chemistry. She was literally a martyr for science: her work with radioactivity led to her untimely demise. Curie's work helped uncover the nature of atomic matter, the great scientific mystery of the early 20th century. AXAF will help uncover the nature of the dark matter, one of the great scientific mysteries of the end of the 20th century.

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