Marie Curie committed her life to hard work and to innovation
in the field of science. Despite having lived a life of hardship
and great personal loss, Marie Curie became the first woman
to win a Nobel Prize, and then became the first woman to win
two Nobel Prizes.
Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867, Curie received science instruction
from her father, a secondary-school teacher. Curie left Poland
to study at the Sorbonne in Paris where she specialized in
Physics and the Mathematical Sciences.
In 1895, she found a man who shared her passion for science.
She married Pierre Curie, a physics professor who taught where
she studied. Inspired by the work of Henri Becquerel, who
discovered radioactivity in 1896, Curie, alongside her husband
Pierre, delved deeper into radioactivity.
Their research and analyses led to the development of methods
for isolating polonium and radium. In 1898, Pierre and Marie
Curie announced their discovery. This work serves as the foundation
for much of what we know today about nuclear physics and chemistry.
This innovation led to her and her husband earning one-half
of the 1903 Nobel Prize, with Becquerel receiving the other
Curie's life was not easy. She lost her oldest sister to
sickness before age eleven. When she was twelve, she lost
her mother to tuberculosis. Throughout her early career, she
worked in very poor conditions. When not working on her research,
Curie spent many hours teaching to support her family. She
and husband Pierre had two daughters, Irene and Eve. In 1906,
Pierre Curie, was killed in a street accident.
Marie Curie didn't let misfortune or even tragedy stop her
from the work she was meant to do. Her work ethic and dedication
earned her a Doctor of Science degree. She succeeded her husband
as Head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne in Paris,
and even took his place as a physics professor. She was the
first woman to hold such a position. Later, she would become
Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute of
the newly founded University of Paris.
In 1911, Madam Curie received a second
Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work in radioactivity.
Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, is the
only woman to win in two fields, and is the only person
to win in multiple sciences.
Her work was published and celebrated, and she achieved recognition
and acclaim amongst her peers. In 1929, President Hoover awarded
her with enough money to buy radium to use in her laboratory.
Despite the fame and the awards, and perhaps because she had
seen so much suffering throughout her life, Curie actively
worked to find uses for radium to ease illnesses.
In 1934, following a brief illness, Curie died in France.
Her hard work and her momentum, even in the face of tragedy
and great loss, earned her a legacy in the world of science
forever securing her a place as one of the most famous women
There is a secret you don't
Besides the factual Marie Curie biography presented above
that presents the famous female scientist as a tragic figure,
the fact is she did like to have fun every once in a blue
moon. For instance, Marie Curie was known to throw down a
mean Hokey Pokey at the local Kiwanis Club and she was the
first person in history to give a moose a Barium enema.