WANTED: Marie Curie

By: Keagan Terry

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Marie curie November 7,1867-July 4,1934


Born in Warsaw, Poland Marie's name was Maria Sklodowska. At the time Poland was under the control of Czar Alexander the second, so Marie's parents as teachers tried their best to overcome the restrictions of the Russian supervisors. Her family suffered because of their patriotism, such as her father being forced out of a good job. Before Marie was 11 her oldest sister died of typhus and her mother died of tuberculous.

Despite her childhood not being the greatest, Marie graduated from high with the highest honors at age fifteen. After graduating Marie suffered from depression, as a result her father sent her to her cousins house in the countryside for a year alone.

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The Skłodowska children in 1872 (from left) Sophia, Bronislawa, Maria, Joseph and Helena

Marie's later education

Since women weren't aloud in Warsaw university, Marie and her oldest sister, Bronya, went to a "floating university". This university met at night at different locations to keep from being caught by the czar police. They made a pact, Marie would be a governess to help cover for Bronya's education, then Bronya would get a job and help pay for Marie's education. This pact was made to get a true professional education.

Marie found a job at a beet-sugar factory and taught the owners children to read, risking getting in huge trouble with the police. Marie was also taught math, chemistry, and physics by a fellow worker.


Marie was back in Warsaw, she became a governess and a tutor. On Sundays and evenings Marie went to secretly study chemistry at a "museum" that was really an illegal lab for Polish scientist to train. Just before she was twenty-four Marie had enough money to go to a university in Paris.

Marie only had money for a small room, the cheapest food, and not much else. Marie started school and life with a new name, she registered as Marie instead of Maria. Marie wasn't as prepared as the others but in just three years she had master degrees in physics and math. Now on her own she studied so hard that she sometimes forgot to eat.

Marie on her own

Marie's work as a physician, she got a job with a group of industrialists to investigate the magnetic properties of different steels. To do this work Marie needed a lab, so she was introduced to Pierre Curie who let Marie work in his lab. Pierre convinced Marie to live in Paris where she would continue working in his lab.In 1895 Marie and Pierre got married and two years later had their first daughter Irene.


The same year Marie started studying uranium and chemicals containing uranium, to figure out why it gave off rays that can be seen through a solid object. She found out the amount of uranium in a chemical can tell you how radioactive it is. Marie soon figured out that thorium also gave off rays, after discovering this she made the term "radioactivity".

Marie started studying pitchblende to figure out what chemicals it contains. To speed up the studying Pierre helped her out. In 1898 Marie and Pierre discover and name two new elements polonium and radium. Marie got a Nobel prize for this discovery and became the first woman to get a Nobel prize.

Uranium ore

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In 1906 Pierre was killed by being run over by a horse drawn carriage. In his memory Marie started the radium foundation, which would use radium for medical purposes. Marie got another Nobel prize in 1911 and became the first person to get two Nobel prizes.

In 1914 the world war had started Marie made 20 mobile x-ray machines to help the doctors with finding bullets, shrapnel, and broken bones. Marie also gave them radium to kill diseased skin. Since 1920 Marie had been suffering from a disease caused by being exposed to radioactivity and died on July 4th 1934. Her daughter Irene carried on her legacy.


“Constantly held in suspicion and spied upon, the children knew that a single conversation in Polish, or an imprudent word, might seriously harm, not only themselves, but also their families.”
--Marie Curie

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Marie Curie

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
Marie Curie

“Radium is not to enrich any one. It is an element; it is for all people.”
Marie Curie

“I am one of those who think, like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.”
Marie Curie

Albert Einstein:

Marie Curie is of all celebrated beings, the one whom fame has not corrupted.