. Born November 7, 1867, Warsaw, Congress Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empiredied July 4, 1934, near Sallanches, France), Polish born French physicist, famous for her work on radioactivity and twice a winner of the Nobel Prize. With Henri Becquerel and her husband, Pierre Curie, she was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and she is the
Early Life and Education
. Maria Salomea Sklodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland on November 7, 1867. At that time, Warsaw lay within the borders of the Russian Empire. Marias family wanted Poland to be an independent country.We shall refer to Maria from now on as Marie Curie her name after marriage because that is how she is best known.Marie Curies mother and father Bronislawa and Wladyslaw were both teachers and encouraged her interest in science.When Marie was age
. Two obstacles now stood in Maries wayHer father had too little money to support her ambition to go to university.Higher education was not available for girls in Poland
Two Polish Girls in Paris
. To overcome the obstacles they faced, Marie agreed to work as a tutor and childrens governess to support Bronya financially. This allowed Bronya to go to France to study medicine in Paris.And so, for the next few years of her life, Marie worked to earn money for herself and Bronya. In the evenings, if she had time, she read chemistry, physics and math textbooks. She also attended lectures and laboratory practicals at an illegal free university wh
Top Student Again
. In summer 1893, aged 26, Marie finished as top student in her masters physics degree course. She was then awarded industrial funding to investigate how the composition of steel affected its magnetic properties. The idea was to find ways of making stronger magnets.Her thirst for knowledge also pushed her to continue with her education, and she completed a masters degree in chemistry in 1894, aged 27.
. For a long time, Marie had been homesick. She dearly wished to return to live in Poland. After working in Paris on steel magnets for a year, she vacationed in Poland, hoping to find work. She found out that there were no jobs for her.A few years earlier, she had been unable to study for a degree in her homeland because she was a woman. Now, for the same reason, she found she could not get a position at a university.
Back to Paris and Pierre
. Marie decided to return to Paris and begin a Ph.D. degree in physics.Back in Paris, in the year 1895, aged 28, she married Pierre Curie. Pierre had proposed to her before her journey back to Poland. Aged 36, he had only recently completed a Ph.D. in physics himself and had become a professor. He had written his Ph.D. thesis after years of delay, because Marie had encouraged him to.Pierre was already a highly respected industrial scientist and inv
. The Ph.D. degree is a research based degree, and Marie Curie now began to investigate the chemical element uranium.
Discovery of Polonium Radium and a New Word
. Marie and Pierre decided to hunt for the new element they suspected might be present in pitchblende. By the end of 1898, after laboriously processing tons of pitchblende, they announced the discovery of two new chemical elements which would soon take their place in Dmitri Mendeleevs periodic table.The first element they discovered was polonium, named by Marie to honor her homeland. They found polonium was 300 times more radioactive that uranium.T
Tragedy and Progress
. The money from their Nobel Prizes made life easier for Marie and Pierre. For the first time, they could afford a laboratory assistant. Pierre took the Chair of Physics at the Sorbornne. The university also agreed to provide a new, well equipped laboratory for the couple. In 1904, Marie and Pierre had a second daughter, Eve.And then their happy life together came to an end. In 1906, Pierre was killed when he was hit by a horse drawn carriage in th
Nobel Prize for Chemistry
. In 1910, Marie isolated a pure sample of the metallic element radium for the first time. She had discovered the element 12 years earlier.In 1911, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.Again, Marie Curie had broken the mold she was the first person to win a Nobel Prize in both physics and chemi
The Coming of War
. During World War 1, 1914 1918, Marie Curie put her scientific knowledge to use. With the help of her daughter Irene, who was only 17 years old, she set up radiology medical units near battle lines to allow X rays to be taken of wounded soldiers. By the end of the war, over one million injured soldiers had passed through her radiology units.
One of the Greats
. Marie Curie was now recognized worldwide as one of sciences greats. She traveled widely to talk about science and to promote The Radium Institute which she had founded to carry out medical research.Marie was one of the small number of elite scientists invited to one of the most famous scientific conferences of all time the 1927 Solvay Conference on Electrons and Photons.
Healing the World
. Marie Curie became aware that the rays coming from radioactive elements could be used to treat tumors. She and Pierre decided not to patent the medical applications of radium, and so could not profit from it.In her later years, Marie Curies dearest wish was to explore the use of radioactivity in medical applications. To do this, she established the Radium Institute.At $120,000 per gram, radium was horrendously expensive millions of dollars in t
. Marie next decided to test all of the known many chemical ores to see if any others would emit Becquerel rays. In 1898, she coined the term radioactive to describe materials that had this effect. Pierre was so interested in her research that he put his own work aside to help her. Together, they found that two ores, chalcolite and pitchblende, were much more radioactive than pure uranium. Marie suspected that these ores might contain as yet undisc
. Marie continued to do research in radioactivity. When World War I broke out in 1914, she suspended her studies and organized a fleet of portable X ray machines for doctors on the front.After the war, she worked hard to raise money for her Radium Institute, including a trip to the United States. But by 1920, she was suffering from medical problems, likely due to her exposure to radioactive materials. On July 4, 1934, she died of aplastic anemia, a
Marie Curie quotes
. 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.Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.One never notices what has been done, one can only see what remains to be done.There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth.I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new disc
School in France
. It took six years, but, after Bronislawa graduated and became a doctor, Marie moved to France and entered the Sorbonne. During the six years Marie had read a lot of books on math and physics. She knew she wanted to become a scientist.Marie arrived in France in 1891. In order to fit in, she changed her name from Manya to Marie. Marie lived the life of a poor college student, but she loved every minute of it. She was learning so much. After three y
. Marie and her husband spent many hours in the science lab investigating pitchblende and the new element. They eventually figured out that there were two new elements in pitchblende. They had discovered two new elements for the periodic table.Marie named one of the elements polonium after her homeland Poland. She named the other radium, because it gave off such strong rays. The Curies came up with the term radioactivity to describe elements that e
Tough Times in Poland
. As Marie grew older her family came upon tough times. Poland was under the control of Russia at the time. People were not even allowed to read or write anything in the Polish language. Her father lost his job because he was in favor of Polish rule. Then, when Marie was ten, her oldest sister Zofia became sick and died from the disease typhus. Two years later her mother died from tuberculosis. This was a difficult time for the young Marie.After gr
. In 1920, for the 25th anniversary of the discovery of radium, the French government established a stipend for her, its previous recipient was Louis Pasteur (1822 95) In 1921, Marie was welcomed triumphantly when she toured the United States to raise funds for research on radium. Mrs. William Brown Meloney, after interviewing Marie, created a Marie Curie Radium Fund and raised money to buy radium, publicising her trip.In 1921, US President Warren
. Marie Curie died aged 66 on July 4, 1934, killed by aplastic anemia, a disease of the bone marrow. It is likely that the radioactivity she had been exposed to during her career caused the disease.Scientists are now much more cautious in their handling of radioactive elements and X rays than they were in the first few decades after their discovery. Marie Curies own books and papers are so radioactive that they are now stored in lead boxes, which m