Who was Marie Curie?
Marie Curie was born on 7th November, 1867, in Warsaw, Poland. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award in two fields of science, Physics and Chemistry. She died on July 4, 1934, in France, due to aplastic anemia, caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.
What is Marie Curie best known for?
She is the most famous female scientists of all times and has received several posthumous honours. Marie Curie made many breakthroughs in her life and she along with her husband Pierre Curie’s research led to the discovery of radium and polonium.
Early life and education
Born as Maria Sklodowska, and the daughter of teachers, Marie Curie was the youngest of five children and took after her father, Wladysław, with her aptitude for Math and Physics. At the age of 10, she lost her mother, Bronislawa, to tuberculosis.
A top student in her school, Marie Curie was unable to attend the men only University of Warsaw. She continued her education in Warsaw’s ‘Floating University’ informal classes, that were conducted.
Marie helped her sister Bronislawa to complete her medical studies in Paris, while she worked to support them, in exchange for the same support.
In late 1891, she left Poland for France and enrolled at the University of Paris, to study Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. She underwent severe hardships while following through with her education. In 1893, she was awarded a degree in Physics and began working in an industrial laboratory of Professor Gabriel Lippmann.
Marie and Pierre Curie
With the aid of a fellowship, she was able to earn a second degree in 1894. Marie began her scientific career with a commission to study magnetic properties of different types of steels. She met her husband Pierre Curie around this time. Their mutual interest soon developed into deep feelings and they married.
Their eldest daughter Irene was a scientist and a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.
Marie Curie’s research and discoveries
- In 1895, after Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the existence of X – rays and Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium salts emitted rays that resembled X – rays, Marie Curie decided to look into Uranium rays as a research thesis. This research brought Pierre and Marie their first Nobel Prize along with Henri Becquerel in Physics, in 1903.
- Their journey continued with their work on X Rays, Radium and Polonium bringing them several accolades. Their contribution to science paved the way for nuclear and atomic energy sciences. Pierre Curie lost his life in 1906, due to an accident.
- Marie Curie received her second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of the elements, Radium and Polonium, in 1911.
- In 1995, Marie Curie were enshrined in the Pantheon in Paris. She was the first woman to be honoured for her achievements.
Top 4 quotes by Marie Curie
- I am among those who think that science has great beauty.
- It was like a new world opened to me, the world of science, which I was at last permitted to know in all liberty.
- One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
- Scientist believe in things, not in person.