The Life of Marie Curie

By Elvir Karic

Marie Curie was a Polish-French physicist who won a Nobel prize twice for her work on radioactivity.
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Marie's early life

Marie Curie was born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland November 7, 1867. Both Marie's parents were teachers and she took after her father learning and teaching physics. She had five other siblings, and was the youngest out of all of them. When Marie was ten years-old she had lost her mother to tuberculosis. She was a top student in her secondary school, but she was could not attend the University of Warsaw for it was only for men. In place of going to the University of Warsaw she went to classes held in secret underground. Both Marie and her sister Bronya wanted to go to school but they were poor. Marie designed a deal with her sister, she would work for money for Bronya, and Bronya would return the favor after. In 1891 Marie went to Paris where she enrolled a the Sorbonne. She was dedicated to her studies, but she had little money and survived from buttered bread and tea, which took a toll on her health. Curie completed her master's degree in physics in 1893. Marie Curie needed a lab to work in, and colleague introduced her to Pierre Curie, a physicist and future husband. Soon a romance developed between them and they married in 1895.


Marie Curie conducted experiments on uranium rays. She had learned that the rays stayed unchanged no matter the condition of the uranium. The rays, she had learned came from the element's atomic structure. This historic idea created atomic physics, and she even came up with the name radioactivity to describe her idea. In 1898, Pierre and Marie Curie discovered a new radioactive element called polonium, coined after Poland.
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Curie's Fame

In 1903, Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. She had won the honor along with her husband, and Henri Becquerel for what they discovered and learned on radioactivity. Once they had won the Nobel prize the Curies had international fame, and with that they continued their findings on radioactivity. In 1904 Marie and Pierre Curie had a second daughter, Eve. In 1906, an extreme tragedy happened to Pierre, he was killed in Paris when he stepped in front of a wagon. Marie was a person you call determined, she took over Pierre's teachings at Sorbonne once he died. In 1911, Marie had won another Nobel prize in chemistry. She was the first scientist to win two Nobel prizes, and was selected, because of her discovery of polonium and radium. Not all Marie's fame was good, in fact it was very negative. She broken up Paul Langevin's marriage, Pierre's student, when she had an affair with him. When World War I occurred in 1914, Curie spent her time and resources helping the situation. She had invented portable X-ray machines which earned the name "Little Curies". After World War I, Marie Curie used her fame to to expand her research. In 1921 and 1929, Marie traveled to the United States, and she used her funds to buy radium, and she built a radium research institution in Warsaw, Poland.
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The Last days of Curie

Marie's final days were spent resting and regaining her strength at the Sancellemoz Sanatorium in Passy, France. Curie was known to carry test tubes of radium in her lab coat pocket. On July 4, 1934 Marie Curie had died of aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia is is know to be caused when exposed to radioactivity for long periods of time. Marie Curie was the most famous scientist of all time, and she still is today. Today many different research and educational institutes are dedicated to the Curie name.

Works Cited

Gallagher, Jamie. " The Forgotten Curies." Forgotten Curies. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. <>.

"Marie Curie Biography." A&E Networks Television. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. <>.

"Marie Curie: Life, Elements & Scientific Contribution | Online Homework Help | SchoolWorkHelper." Online Homework Help SchoolWorkHelper. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. <>.