I don't know if it would have any relevance, but Marie Curie also went to Paris in 1891* to study physics and math. Later (1898) she discovered radium, which was used in mobile radiography units in WW1 to treat wounded soldiers on the battlefield. They were called "petits curies" and used the radioactive gas that was given off by radium (called radon) to power them. Maybe try using Radon or Radium as a key?
Also, I have a hunch that maybe this clue will lead us to a video or broadcast of some sort? Since there have been a lot of connections to sputnik, frequencies, and Dan Rather, all things that have to do with communication?
*Flip it, it's 1981, same year that Dan Rather started doing CBS Evening News, and that Reagan was sworn in. Anyone think there would be relevance?
Ps- Hi I'm Badger, I signed up because this gknova business is driving me batty, and I want to help figure this out!