Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie biography

Marie Skłodowska Curie commonly known as Marie Curie was born on 7 November 1867 in Warsaw, what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. Curie’s birth name is however Maria Salomea Skłodowska. She was a Polish but naturalized-French citizen physicist and chemist who ran ground-breaking research on radioactivity. She was the first woman and only woman to win a Nobel Prize twice in multiple sciences. She was also known to be the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.

She studied at Warsaw’s clandestine Floating University and started her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891 at the age of 24, she tagged along with her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris. There she earned her higher degrees and conducted her successive scientific work. She shared the Nobel Prize she won in 1903 in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with physicist Henri Becquerel. She again won Nobel Prize in 1911 for Chemistry.

Pierre Curie

Pierre Curie

Marie Curie inventions

Her accomplishments includes the development of the theory of radioactivity – a word that she made up, methods for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the finding of two elements, polonium and radium. The world’s first studies were conducted under her direction regarding the treatment of neoplasms, with the help of  radioactive isotopes. She is the founder of the Curie Foundations in Paris and in Warsaw, which till today remains a major centers of medical research. She also established the first military field radiological centres in the course of World War I.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie never forgot of Polish heritage. She even taught her daughters the Polish language and took them to Poland. In 1898 she named the first chemical element that she discovered‍—‌polonium—‌after her native country.

Marie Curie death

Curie died on 4th July 1934, at the age of 66, at a infirmary in Sancellemoz, France, due to aplastic anaemia brought on by exposure to radiation while carrying test tubes of radium in her pockets and was also exposed to X-rays units that she had set up in the course of her service in World War I. She was buried at the cemetery in Sceaux, Paris, beside her husband Pierre. In 1995 sixty years later after her death, in respect of their (Curie and her husband Perrie) accomplishments, the remains of both were relocated to the Panthéon, Paris. She became the first woman to be honored with entombment in the Panthéon on her own merits. Despite the fact that her many decades of exposure to radiation triggered chronic illnesses which included near blindness due to cataracts and eventually her death, she never really recognized the health risks of radiation exposure. She worked on a book titled ‘Radioactivity’, in her last year. The book was published later in 1935.

Her papers from the 1890’s are deemed too dangerous to handle due to their levels of radioactive contamination, even her cookbook is considered highly radioactive. Her papers are preserved in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to access them must wear protective clothing.


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