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Marie Curie Sklodowska

Polish-French physicist

Maria Skłodowska-Curie was a Polish-French physicist. She was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Congress Poland, but in 1891 she moved to Paris, France to continue her studies. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (physics in 1903, shared with her partner and husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel, and chemistry in 1911, making her the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two scientific fields). She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. Se received numerous other awards and honorary degrees. 1)

Nobel in Physics

She was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 with Pierre Curie for their research on the radiation phenomena, discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel. She coined the term radioactivity, describing the emission of ionizing radiation by some heavy elements. 2)

Nobel in Chemistry

Marie Sklodowska was awarded her second Nobel Prize for the discovery and researching the nature of two new elements: polonium (named after her native country, occupied by Russia at the time) and radium (named after radiation).3)

Nobel family

Marie received the Nobel Prize with her husband, Pierre. Their daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, which she shared with her husband, Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Their second daughter, Ève Curie, was the only family member who didn't become a scientist and didn't win a Nobel Prize, but her husband, Henry Richardson Labouisse, received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on behalf of UNICEF. Ève often joked: “There were five Nobel Prizes in my family, two for my mother, one for my father, one for sister and brother-in-law, and one for my husband. Only I was not successful.” 4)

Radioactive Legacy

The damaging effects of ionizing radiation were not known at the time, so Curie took no safety measures. Marie Curie's papers from the 1890s, even her cookbooks, are still considered too dangerous to handle and will remain so for 1,500 years. She was also exposed to the first unshielded X-ray machines during the First World War when she served as a radiologist in field hospitals. She died in 1934 of aplastic anemia, the result of years of exposure to radiation through her work in labs and hospitals. Additionally, her daughter Irène Curie died in 1956 from acute leukemia, linked to her exposure to polonium and X-rays. 5)

marie_curie_sklodowska.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/27 10:55 by rapidplatypus