Marie Sklodowska Curie

Marie Sklodowska Curie, one of the most famous woman scientists was responsible for the discovery of radium and polonium. Marie was also responsible for pioneering the radioactivity theory. Know more about the life of Marie and her discoveries.
| Saturday, September 20, 2008
"Each of us must work for our own improvement, and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful."  - Marie Curie (1867-1934)

Marie Sklodowska Curie, born on November 7, 1867, is regarded as the "Mother of Nuclear Science". Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist who was brought up in Warsaw, Poland. Marie won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 and a second Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911 for her discovery of radium and polonium. Marie's achievements include creation of the radioactivity theory, techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes and discovery of radium and polonium elements.

Marie's family struggled financially during her childhood. Her family taught her values of patriotism and learning. After turning 24, in the year 1891, Marie went to Paris for university studies, leaving her most beloved country Poland, with a promise to her father to return back upon completion of her education. During her education, Marie Curie's dedicated work in physics made her win a scholarship. A group of industrialists and the Society for the Encouragement of National Industry (SENI), paid her to work on the magnetic properties of steel. Marie Curie got married to Pierre in July 1895. Pierre was a Laboratory Chief at the Paris Municipal School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry. Marie got the chance to work at Pierre's lab on magnetic properties of steel. Marie completed her university research two years after her marriage.

While working on uranium rays, Marie made a stunning discovery of radium. Continuing to work on radium, she made several observations and experiments. Marie's discoveries fascinated the public and industrialists at that time. Industrial firms provided Marie with lab space, support staff and raw materials to continue her work. In 1903, Marie completed her doctoral thesis and thus became the first woman to receive a doctorate in France. Marie was also the first woman to be a professor at the University of Paris. In the year 1934, Marie Curie died of leukemia probably from exposure to the radium which itself made her famous.

Timeline of Marie Sklodowska Curie's Life

1867: Birth of Marie Curie in Warsaw, Poland.

1891: Became the first female lecturer at the Sorbonne University in Paris taking her husband Pierre's place after his death.

1903: Was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with her husband Pierre and Henri Becquerel for the radioactivity theory.

1911: Was awarded a second Nobel Prize in chemistry for her discovery of radioactive elements radium and polonium.

1934: Died of leukemia.
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