Madame Curie’s Biography was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, and with her subsequent victory in chemistry, she became the first person to claim Nobel honors twice.
Her efforts with her husband Pierre led to the discovery of polonium and radium, and she championed the development of X-rays.
Marie Curie became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the first woman to win the award twice.
Along with her husband Pierre Curie, Mary’s efforts led to the discovery of polonium and radium, and after Pierre’s death, X-rays developed further. The famous scientist died of aplastic anemia in 1934 due to exposure to radiation.
Childhood and education | Madame Curie’s Biography
Maria Skolodowska, later known as Marie Curie, was born on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw (modern day Poland). Curie was the youngest of five children after brothers, Zosia, Joseph, Bronya, and Hela. Both Currie’s parents were teachers. Her father, Vladislav, was an instructor in mathematics and physics. When she was only 10, Curie lost her mother, Bronislava, to tuberculosis.
As a child, Curie took after her father. He was a bright and inquisitive mind and excelled in school. But despite being a top student at his secondary school, Currie could not attend the men-only university Warsaw. Instead he continued his education at the “Floating University” of Warsaw, a set of underground, informal classes held in secret.
Both Currie and her sister Bronya had dreamed of going abroad to pursue an official degree, but they lacked the financial resources to do more schooling. Underrated, Currie made a deal with her sister: she would work to support Bronya while in school, and Bronya would return the favor after completing her studies.
For nearly five years, Currie worked as a tutor and a regent. He used his free time to study, read about physics, chemistry and mathematics. In 1891, Curie finally made his way to Paris and enrolled at the Sorbonne. She threw herself into her studies, but this dedication had a personal cost: with little money, Curie survived on breaded bread and tea, and sometimes her health deteriorated due to her poor diet. Curie completed a master’s degree in physics in 1893 and a further degree in mathematics the following year.
Married Pierre Curie | Madame Curie’s Biography
Marie married French physicist Pierre Curie on July 26, 1895. He was introduced by an associate of Mary’s after graduating from Sorbonne University; Mary received a commission to conduct a study on various types of steel and their magnetic properties and a lab was required for her work.
A romance developed between the illustrious pair, and they became a scientific dynamic duo devoted entirely to each other. At first, Marie and Pierre worked on separate projects. But after Mary discovered radioactivity, Pierre set aside her work to help her with her research.
Marie suffered a tremendous loss in 1906 when Pierre was killed in Paris after accidentally stepping in front of a horse drawn wagon. Despite her overwhelming grief, she held her teaching position at the Sorbonne, becoming the first female professor at the institution. In 1911, Curie’s relationship with her husband’s alumnus, Paul Langwin, became public. Curie was reared in the press for breaking the marriage of langwyn in negativity stemming from increasing xenophobia in France.
In 1897, Marie and Pierre welcomed a daughter, Irne. In 1904, the couple had a second daughter, Eve. After winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, Irene Juliet-Curie followed in her mother’s footsteps. Juliet-Curie shared the honor with her husband Frederick Juliet for her work on the synthesis of new radioactive elements. In 1937, Eve Curie wrote several autobiographies dedicated to her famous mother, Madame Curie, which became a feature film a few years later.
What was Marie Curie discovered?
Curie discovered radioactivity, and together with her husband Pierre, worked with the mineral pitchblend, the radioactive elements polonium and radium. He also completed the development of X-rays after Pierre’s death.
Radioactivity, Polonium and Radium
Thrilled by the work of Henri Becquerel, a French physicist who discovered that uranium rays were weaker than the X-rays found by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Currie moved his work a few steps further. Curie conducted his own experiments on uranium rays and discovered that they remained constant, regardless of the position or form of uranium. The rays, they theorem, came from the atomic structure of the element. This revolutionary idea created the field of nuclear physics. Currie himself coined the term “radioactivity” to describe the incident.
After Curie discovered radioactivity, she continued her research with her husband Pierre. Working with the mineral pitchblend, the pair discovered a new radioactive element in 1898. He named the element polonium after Poland, Curie’s native country.
He also detected the presence of another radioactive material in the pitchblend and called that radium. In 1902, the Curies announced that they had produced a decigram of pure radium, demonstrating its existence as a unique chemical element.
Development of x-rays
When World War I began in 1914, Curie devoted his time and resources to helping the cause. He supported the use of portable X-ray machines in the field, and these medical vehicles earned the nickname “Little Curies”.
After the war, Curie used her celebrity to advance her research. He traveled to the United States twice – in 1921 and in 1929 – to raise funds to purchase radium and to establish the Radium Research Institute in Warsaw.
Curie won two Nobel Prizes for Physics in 1903 and for Chemistry in 1911. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, as well as the first person to win the prestigious award twice. She remains the only person to be honored for achievements in two different sciences.
Curie received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 for her work on radioactivity, along with her husband and Henry Beckrell. With his win, the Curies developed an international reputation for his scientific efforts, and he used his prize money to continue his research.
In 1911, Curie won his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for his discovery of radium and polonium. While she received the award alone, she shared the honor jointly with her late husband in her acceptance lecture.
Around this time, Currie joined with other famous scientists, including Albert Einstein and Max Planck, who attended the first Solvay Congress in Physics and discussed many groundbreaking discoveries in their field.
Curie died on July 4, 1934, of aplastic anemia, believed to be due to prolonged exposure to radiation.
She was known to carry a test tube of radium around in her lab coat pocket. Her many years of working with radioactive material overshadowed her health.
Legacy of Marie Curie
Curie achieved many successes during his lifetime. Recalled as a leading figure in science and a role model for women, she has received several posthumous honors. Many educational and research institutes and medical centers bear the name Curie, including the Currie Institute and Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC).
In 1995, the remains of Marie and Pierre were interred in the Parisian Pantheon, the last resting place of France’s biggest minds. Mary became the first and one of the five women who were laid to rest there. In 2017, Python hosted an exhibition to honor the 150th birthday of the leading scientist.
The Nobel Prize winner’s story was back on the big screen in 2017 with Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge, featuring Polish actress Karolina Gruszka. In 2018, Amazon announced the development of another biopic of Curie, starring British actress Rosamond Pike.