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The curie (symbol Ci) is a unit of radioactivity, defined as

1 Ci = 3.7×1010 decays per second or becquerels.

This is roughly the activity of 1 gram of the radium isotope 226Ra, a substance studied by the pioneers of radiology, Marie and Pierre Curie. The curie has since been replaced by an SI derived unit, the becquerel (Bq), which equates to one decay per second. Therefore:

1 Ci = 3.7×1010 Bq


1 Bq = 2.70×10−11 Ci

The unit is named after Pierre and Marie Curie.[1][2]

A radiotherapy machine may have roughly 1000 Ci of a radioisotope such as Cesium-137 or Cobalt-60. This quantity of nuclear material can produce serious health effects with only a few minutes of exposure.

Also, a commonly-used measure of radioactivity is the microcurie:

μCi = 3.7×104 disintegrations per second = 2.22×106 disintegrations per minute

The typical human body contains roughly 0.1 μCi of naturally occurring Potassium-40.


See also

Simple English

The Curies were a family of distinguished scientists:

  • Marie Curie (1867-1934), a Polish-French chemist, physicist, and two time Nobel Prize winner
  • Pierre Curie (1859-1906), Marie's husband, French physicist and Nobel Prize winner
  • Irène Joliot-Curie (1897-1956), Marie and Pierre's daughter, French physicist and Nobel Prize winner
  • Frédéric Joliot-Curie (1900-1958), Irène's husband, French physicist and Nobel Prize winner
  • Ève Curie (1904-2007), Marie and Pierre's second daughter, French-American writer and journalist

Things and ideas named after the Curies:

  • Curie (unit) (Ci), a unit of radioactivity
  • Curie point
  • Curie's law
  • Curium (Cm), a chemical element
  • Curie (lunar crater)
  • Curie Institute (Paris)
  • Curie Institute (Warsaw)
  • Curie (Q 87), a French submarine in the First World War
  • French submarine Curie (P67), a French submarine in the Second World War


  • CURIE, a syntax for Compact URIs.


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