The Life of Marie Curie

Alice Han, Journalist/Editor

In the science and chemistry world, there are many great people who have done so much, such as Kathleen Lonsdale and Linus Pauling, but Marie Curie has greatly helped the world even when she didn’t have great equipment.

 Maria Salomea Skłodowska, better known as Marie Curie, was born on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. Her mother was a secondary school teacher and her father was a math and physics teacher. Curie went to school and had some scientific education from her father. When Curie was a teenager, her father lost his savings through a bad investment, so she had to work as a teacher. 

In 1891, Marie Curie traveled to Paris to follow the lectures from Paul Appell, Gabriel Lippmann, and Edmond Bouty at a University in Paris. There she met Jean Perrin, Charles Maurain, and Aimé Cotton, three great physicists and they worked together. She began to work in Lippmann’s research laboratory and in 1894 was put into mathematical sciences. Then Marie met Pierre Curie who was the professor of Physics and on July 26, 1895, they became a couple. They had two children, Irène and Ève. Together, Pierre and Marie performed many experiments and in 1898, Marie and Pierre discovered polonium and radium. Unfortunately in 1906, Pierre tragically died. Afterwards, Curie became Head of the Physics Laboratory, got a Doctor of Science degree, and took Pierre’s place of Professional of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences. 

Throughout Marie Curie’s life, she encouraged the use of radium to reduce suffering and did lots of work for several companies. Curie has achieved several great things. For example, she was awarded half of the Nobel Prize of Physics and the Davy Medal of the Royal Society in 1903 for discovering radioactivity. Then in 1910, she produced radium as pure metal and in 1911, she received another Nobel Prize of Chemistry again for her work in radioactivity, and in 1921, President Harding presented her one gram of radium to acknowledge her work in science. Marie Curie became the only woman to receive Nobel Prizes in two different fields and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Sadly, in Sallanches, France, on July 4, 1934, Curie died due to a blood disease known as aplastic anemia. People believe that she died because of always being exposed to radiation. Marie Curie helped physics, science, chemistry, and nuclear physicists. She has helped impact our world and her work helped pave the way for the future in science.