Marie Curie Biography
Marie Curie Biography
The first woman to receive a Nobel prize, and the first person to receive it twice, Marie Curie pioneered research into radioactivity and isolated two atomic elements. Her discoveries helped shape the science of nuclear physics.
Together with Pierre, her physicist husband, she researched the radiation emitted by pitchblende, an ore containing uranium. Realizing that radiation emitted by the ore was more powerful than radiation emitted by pure uranium, she discovered the elements polonium and radium. After Pierre’s fatal street accident in 1906 she succeeded him as Professor of Physics at the Sorbonne, becoming the first woman to teach there. She later became director of the Radium Institute in Paris, and also played an important role in World War I, training radiologists on the front line.
By the 1920s Curie had become a leading scientist, traveling the world to raise funds for her research on the applications of radium. Dedicated to her work, she ignored the ill effects of radiation exposure on her own health, and died of leukemia in 1934.
Marie Curie Biography - Timeline
NOVEMBER 7, 1867
Born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland, the youngest child of intellectuals Wladyslav and Bronislawa Sklodowska.
1883 Wins a gold medal on completion of high school education. Takes a teaching post.
1885 Becomes a governess to finance her sister through medical school. Teaches herself math and physics.
1891 – 94 Emigrates to Paris, changes her first name to Marie, and enrolls at the Sorbonne to study math and physics; graduates first in class.
JULY 25, 1895
Marries Pierre Curie, a professor in the School of Physics and Chemistry at the Sorbonne.
1896 Establishes a small laboratory. Measures radiation from uranium compounds and other elements.
1897 Gives birth to first daughter, Irene.
1898 Discovers a new element and names it “polonium,” after her native Poland.
1900 Appointed lecturer of physics at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Sevres. Introduces the method of teaching by experiment.
1901 Isolates a minute piece of pure radium and determines its atomic mass.
1903 hares the Nobel Prize for Physics with Pierre and Henri Becquerel, who first discovered radiation.
1904 Gives birth to second daughter, Eve.
1906 Takes over Pierre’s professorate at the Sorbonne after he dies in a road accident.
1911 Wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of radium and polonium. Shows first signs of ill health.
AUGUST 1914 Becomes director of the Radium Institute in Paris. Starts work on X-radiography with Irene.
1921 Visits North America, South America, and Europe on a lecture tour to raise money for the Radium Institute.
1929 Visits US again and receives $50,000 check from President Hoover to purchase one gram of radium.
1932 Inaugurates the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Radium Institute, in Warsaw.
JULY 4, 1934 Dies of leukemia in Haute Savoie, France.
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