UMAC award 2017: University de Rennes 1 amongst this year's winners

The International Committee for University Museums and Collections awards Université de Rennes 1 for its replication of the Curie experiment on radioactivity.

Hélène Langevin-Curie and Pierre Joliot-Curie, November 2015 (Photo: Université de Rennes 1).

Photo: Hélène Langevin-Curie and Pierre Joliot-Curie, November 2015.

UMAC is the international committee for university museums and collections of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). It is an international forum for all those working in, or associated with, academic museums, galleries and collections.

The UMAC Award of Excellence honours excellence and innovation in university museums and collection and celebrates the impact of university museums and collections on their host universities, their communities and contemporary society.

This year, Université de Rennes 1 was amongst the winners. With first place going to the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair (ONAYLF) at the Sam Noble Museum, University of Oklahoma, Université de Rennes 1 holds joint second place with the National Cheng Kung University Museum's I C Taiwan Exhibition.

The university was awarded for its replication of the Curie experiment on radioactivity. The first quantitative measurement of radioactivity was made in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie. They used a prototype experiment based on a quartz balance. These measurements led to the discovery of radium and polonium.

In 2015, Bernard Pigelet and Dominique Bernard achieved the delicate replication of the Curie prototype at the University of Rennes 1. Using an original quartz balance and pieces from historical instruments identified in the collections of the University they could make the experiment fully operational and it is now regularly presented to the public, through a permanent exhibition, online videos and particular events.