The Life of Marie Curie (1867-1934)
A woman who left a great impact on the world.
Both her mom and dad were teachers and helped pursue Marie's dream of being a scientist. Marie was highly intelligent for her age, but people in Poland didn't have access to higher education, so Marie was stuck being top student in the school.
After her mom died, she went to boarding school. Shortly afterwards, Marie attended a selective school in a gymnasium for highly academic students. Expectedly, she graduated from high school early- at fifteen years old!
After she graduated, she worked as a tutor and a children's governess to financially support Bronya, her sister. During this time, she went to an illegal, free college and went to lectures as well. In 1893,
Marie recieved a master's degree in physics, and a year later she received one in chemistry.
Changes To Mankind
She discovered uranium can conduct electricity because its rays charge the air it passes through. Marie also discovered the number of rays produced by the uranium depends on how much uranium that's actually there, making the positive theory that rays come from the uranium atoms, not the chemical reaction. She also discovered the two minerals in uranium, pitchblende and tobernite, have more conductivity than uranium itself. She had another correct theory stating that pitchblende and tobernite have a chemical element more active than uranium. Marie discovered thorium, an element that emits rays just like uranium. And in 1898, she discovered two new elements that would later be found in the Dmitri Mendeleev's periodic table. The first element she discovered was polonium (or PO,) in honor of her homeland Poland. The second element she discovered was radium (or RA,) a Latin word for ray.
Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the first woman professor at the University of Paris.
During World War I, Marie set up radiology medical units on battle grounds to help heal and save wounded soldiers. Later on, she used radiology elements to treat tumors.
On May 20, 1921, Marie was rewarded with radium in a lead-lined steel box by President Warren G. Harding. The Radium Institute (now known as The Curie Institute,) is still working on important research today.
Did You Know?
- While figuring out uranium rays can form electricity, Marie used a electrometer her husband, Pierre, and his brother made.
- Maries' daughter, Irene, and her husband, Fredric, won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1935.
- In 1906, Pierre was killed by a horse-drawn carriage.