Marie Currie

How They Croaked

Brief Introduction

She was a chemist and a physicist.


Born: November 7th, 1876

Warsaw, France


Died: July 4th, 1934 (Age 66)

Savoy, France


Married: Pierre Curie

History of Marie Curie

To Marie Curie, science was her life. In a field full of men, she had to be superwomen to make it in the field, let alone make her name known. When working one day, she found some glowing stuff on uranium. Being Marie, she had to know what it was. Eight tons of pitchblende and four years, she boiled, coaxed and reduced that pile down to a fifth of a teaspoon of "pure magic."

Marie was born in Poland on November 7th, 1876. She lived by the life theory of: work slowly, never forget anything and never make a mistake. The word leisure wasn't even in her vocabulary. She moved to Sorbonne, France because there was no college for girls in Poland. During school all she cared about was her grades, not her clothes nor living conditions.

In Sorbonne, she met the French scientist Pierre Curie. They talked about things like crystallography and piezoelectric crystals; things only they could understand, and they got married. There was no wedding dress to the wedding. Her dress was dark and practical, so she could go to the lab right after. Pierre and her had two kids, but her radium child got more attention then her own child. Marie and Pierre won the Nobel Prize with Antoine Henri Becquerel in Physics.

One day Pierre was out and ended up getting hit by a horse-drawn cab and was killed. Marie was upset, but being a manic workaholic she keep on with her work. This lead to her being the first women professor at Sorbonne, and her teaching radioactivity 101.

Later, she won her second Nobel Prize in chemistry. After that she spent a few years driving an x-ray machine around in a truck during World War I, helping to find the bullets stuck inside wounded soldiers. Back at the lab, she tried to find uses for radioactive material in medicine.

Disease: How She Croaked

Symptoms Marie Curie Had:


  • Weight loss
  • Pale skin
  • Black fingertips that cracked and oozed (a sign of infection)
  • Loud buzzing in ears
  • Double cataracts
  • Entire body hurt
  • Fever
The cause of death? Aplastic anemia caused by continuous exposure to radiation.

Significance

Marie Curie was significant because she helps to prove that women not only belong in the science field, but that they can excel in it. Also, Marie Curie is the only female to be awarded twice with a Nobel Prize in two different fields. It is said that she is a "glowing beacon" for girls pursuing a life in science. Furthermore, she was, also, the first female professor at Sorbonne in Paris, France and she was the one to coin the word radioactivity. In working in the new radioactivity field she also found two new elements, radium and polonium. Lastly, with her work in radioactivity, her desk will glow for the next 1500 years to come.

Medicine: What they use vs. What we use

Treatment used on Marie Curie:
  • They didn't use any medicines on Marie Curie because they didn't know what was happening


Treatment used today:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Medcations
  • Bone marrow transplant

Quote

"Her strength, her purity of will, her austerity toward herself, her objectivity, her incorruptible judgement- all these were of a kind seldom found joined in a single individual... Once she had recognized a certain way a the right one, she pursued it without compromise and extreme tenacity."

- Albert Einstein at Marie Curie's memorial celebration

Vocabulary

  • Crystallography - the branch of science concerned with the structure and properties of crystals
  • Piezoelectricity - the ability of certain materials to generate a electric charge in response to applied stress
  • Pitchblende - a form of the mineral uraninite occurring in black or brown pitchlike masses
  • Radioactive - emitting or relating to the emission of ionizing radiation or particles
  • Leisure - use of free time for enjoyment
  • Aplastic anemia - deficiency of all types of blood cells caused by failure of bone marrow development

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