Love, sex and test tubes: science’s most famous marriages

It is said that the experience of love is a heritage shared by all human beings. The history of scientific thought is no stranger to this claim. There are several romantic pages between recognized protagonists of science who exerted influence, enrichment and mutual motivation, not only on a personal but also intellectual level. Their works, carried out as a team, are fundamental pillars for modern science.

In this note, from UNQ science news agencyreview the life and work of heThe Curies, the Lavoisiers, the Coris and the Mosers: protagonists of these curious love stories, where meticulous research and precise documentation join the bedroom. And, almost all, with a Nobel Prize between the sheets.

The first great duo appeared in the mid-eighteenth century. It was that of Marie-Anne Pierrette and her husband Antoine Lavoisier, known as the fathers of modern chemistry.🇧🇷 They married in 1771 and took advantage of the young woman’s dowry, then 13 years old, to establish a well-equipped laboratory where they could begin their studies. Among other things, Marie-Anne worked alongside her husband, recording observations and drawing diagrams of their experimental designs, which was very helpful in understanding Antoine’s methods and results.

So they both found out the key role of oxygen in the combustion and respiration of animals and plants. Furthermore, with their experiments they proved the Law of Conservation of Matter — according to which the amount of matter is always the same at the end and beginning of a reaction — and they discovered that water is composed of oxygen and hydrogen.🇧🇷 If the Nobel Prize had existed back then, they could have won it.

Pierre and Marie Curie: a radioactive love

The passion that united Pierre Curie and student Marie Skłodowska It was the most radioactive in history. Rarely are two lives so deeply identified as those of this couple. The Curies’ story had it all: romanticism, idealism, sacrifice and tragedy. When Marie met Pierre, she had already lived in Paris for three years and was studying at the Sorbonne. In 1894, when the researcher asked her to marry him, they had been working together in his laboratory for over a year. They were married in 1895 and continued their research in a poorly ventilated shed, unaware of the harmful effects continued exposure to unprotected radiation would have on them.

In 1898, the marriage announced the discovery of two new radioactive elements: polonium and radiumalthough they still had to spend four years working in precarious conditions to prove their existence. Finally, in 1903 they won the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Antoine Henri Becquerel, and Marie became the first woman to receive this prize and which she won again in 1911 (alone) in Chemistry.

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Gerty and Carl Cori, united by metabolism

Science, love, wisdom and a huge curiosity about carbohydrate metabolism was what brought them together. Gerty Theresa Radnitz and Carl Ferdinand Cori they met at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Prague and were married in 1920, when she finished her studies. Two years later, they ventured out of World War I-ravaged Europe and arrived at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, where they were able to specialize in research on carbohydrate metabolism.

This Czech migrant couple were particularly interested in studying how glucose is metabolized in the human body and the hormones that regulate this process. In 1929, they proposed the Cori cycle with which later, in 1947, they won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. This cycle describes the mechanism by which glycogen, a derivative of glucose, is converted into an energy source in muscle tissue and then resynthesized and stored in the body. This was a key mechanism for understanding how the body manages energy.

May-Britt and Edvard Moser: on the same path

the norwegian wedding May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered, together with John O’Keefe, the “inner brain GPS” that allows for orientation in space🇧🇷 This discovery earned them the victory, in 2014, the Nobel Prize in Medicine🇧🇷 Thanks to his work, it is possible to understand the system by which the brain allows us to know where the human being is and is going, as well as knowing how information is stored to remember the same path in the future.

The Mosers, who met when they were both studying psychology at the University of Oslo and were married in 1985, resumed research that O’Keefe had carried out in 1971. The New Yorker discovered the first components of this internal positioning system: cells in the hippocampus that allow memory and spatial orientation. Thirty years later, the couple discovered another key component: nerve cells that generated a coordinated system that allowed precise positioning in space. After being awarded by the Swedish Academy, the two scientists (who had two daughters and divorced in 2016) continued their careers separately.

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