The benefit of accident and coincidence in radioactivity

coincidence = [noun] a chance occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous or for apparently being connected. Synonyms: accident, luck, fate

 First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Roentgen, of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig's hand. When she saw her skeleton, Anna is said to have uttered, "I have seen my death". By Wilhelm Röntgen (public domain).During a non-accidental* wander through the Pacific Science Center’s online calendar of scientific events, I noticed one of those divine coincidences that is probably only exciting to me and maybe a few other calendar/science nerds out there.

Not that this is going to stop me sharing—it’s about radioactivity and accidents. Interested? Here goes: Marie Curie’s birthday—that’s today—is the day before the anniversary of Wilhelm Roentgen‘s discovery of X-rays.

Ahem. Maybe I should come clean about this fascinating coincidence of scientific chronology. Curie was born November 7, 1867, and Roentgen made his astonishing discovery on November 8, 1895.

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