Marie Curie

Scientist

Marie Curie

She was born November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Russian Empire, which is now Poland. Marie Curie was born Maria Sklodowska. Her husband name was Pierre Curie. They had two daughters named Irene Curie born in 1897 and Eve Curie born in 1904. Marie Curie died July 4, 1934 in Passy, Haute-Savioe, France from aplastic anemia caused by prolonged exposure to radium.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it’s only to be understood.”

Childhood

Marie Curie was the youngest of five kids. Her father was a math and physics instructor and her mother was a teacher as well. When she was 11 her mother died from tuberculosis.

College

Marie Curie and her sister both wanted to get a college degree. Since they had little money they agreed that Marie Curie would work while her sister was in college and her sister would do the same for her. While her sister was in college she worked as a tutor and a governess, which means to teach children in a private household. In her spare time she read a lot about physics, chemistry and math. When she was 24 she moved to Paris, France and enrolled in a college there. She threw herself into her studies. Because of a lack of money her nutrition suffered and she only able to eat bread and butter, which made her faint. She completed her masters degree in physics in 1893 and earned a degree in mathematics the following year. Later on, she was payed to do a study on steel and there magnetic properties. She needed to work in a lab, so a colleague introduced her to a French physicist named Pierre Curie, whom she ended up marrying.

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals.”

Discoveries

Marie Curie was fascinated by the work of a physicist Henri Becquerel. He discovered uranium cast off rays. Marie Curie conducted her own experiments on uranium. She discovered that the rays remained constant, no matter the condition or form of the uranium. She was the first person to say the word radioactivity. Her hypothesis was that the rays came from the elements of atomic structure. That idea created the science field of atomic physics. Her husband put aside his work. So, that he could help his wife explore radioactivity. In 1898, they discovered a new radioactive element while using a mineral pitchblende. It was named polonium after Marie Curie's native country, Poland. They also found another radioactive material in the pitchblende and called it radium. In 1902, they produced a decigram of pure radium, demonstrating it's existence as a unique chemical element. Both of the elements are more radioactive than uranium.

I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”

Nobel Prize

At first, the Nobel Prize Committee didn't want to award Marie Curie because she was a woman. In December, 1903, Marie Curie became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. In 1911, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. She was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.