Dr. Marie Curie is known to the world as the scientist who discovered radioactive metals i.e. Radium & Polonium.
Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist who lived between 1867-1934. Together with her husband, Pierre, she discovered two new elements (radium and polonium, two radioactive elements that they extracted chemically from pitchblende ore) and studied the x-rays they emitted. She found that the harmful properties of x-rays were able to kill tumors. By the end of World War I, Marie Curie was probably the most famous woman in the world. She had made a conscious decision, however, not to patent methods of processing radium or its medical applications.
Marie Curie was born November 7, 1867 in Poland and died on July 4, 1934. Her co-discovery with her husband Pierre Curie of the radioactive elements radium and polonium represents one of the best known stories in modern science for which they were recognized in 1901 with the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1911, Marie Curie was honored with a second Nobel prize, this time in chemistry, to honor her for successfully isolating pure radium and determining radium's atomic weight.
As a child, Marie Curie amazed people with her great memory. She learned to read when she was only four years old. Her father was a professor of science and the instruments that he kept in a glass case fascinated Marie. She dreamed of becoming a scientist, but that would not be easy. Her family became very poor, and at the age of 18, Marie became a governess. She helped pay for her sister to study in Paris. Later, her sister helped Marie with her education. In 1891, Marie attended the Sorbonne University in Paris where she met and married Pierre Curie, a well-known physicist.
After the sudden accidental death of Pierre Curie, Marie Curie managed to raise her two small daughters (Irène, who was herself awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, and Eve who became an accomplished author) and continue an active career in experimental radioactivity measurements.
Marie Curie contributed greatly to our understanding of radioactivity and the effects of x-rays. She received two Nobel prizes for her brilliant work, but died of leukemia, caused by her repeated exposure to radioactive material.
Marie Curie and The Science of Radioactivity
She is best known as the discoverer of the radioactive elements polonium and radium and as the first person to win two Nobel prizes.
Maria Sklodowska Curie
Maria (Marie Fr.) Sklodowska-Curie (born in Warsaw, Poland, on November 7, 1867) was one of the first woman scientists to win worldwide fame, and indeed, one of the great scientists of this century.
Madame Curie - Science Hero
A friend of the Curies, A. Henri Becquerel, had been playing with recently discovered properties of the element uranium. He talked to Pierre and Marie about those properties and they became interested in them too. Marie Curie set about investigating the effect, which she named "radio-activity" for her Doctorate research.
Madame Marie Curie shared with her husband, Pierre Curie, the honors for discovering two radioactive elements, radium and polonium.
The triumphs amd tragedies of a scientific career.
Photos provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology - Physics Laboratory, and the Department of Energy