Marie Curie


Marie Sklodowska Curie was born on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. She traveled to Paris to continue her studies in getting her Licentiateship in Physics and Mathematical Sciences at the Sorbonne. In 1894 she met Pierre Curie, her husband, who was the Professor in the School of Physics. Pierre was the head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne. In 1903, Marie obtained her Science degree and three years later her husband Pierre died, leaving her the position of professor of General physics. This was the first time a woman had held this position.

In 1914, Curie was appointed Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute of the University of Paris. Here, Marie developed methods to separate radium from radioactive resides. This allowed careful study of the characterization. It was used for therapeutic properties. President Hoover gave her a grant of $50,000 to purchase radium. She was also a member of the Conseil du Physique Solvay at this time until 1922.

She received many awards and honors for her scientific ideas and discoveries. Including two Nobel Prizes, Davy Medal of Royal Society, and her daughter won the Nobel Prize in 1935, being the first mother and daughter to share the honor. She was the author of Recherches sur les Substances Radioactivies in 1904, L’lsotopie et les Elements Isotopes and Traite de Radioactivite in 1910.

Her awards were won and papers were written on how she isolated one-tenth of a gram of pure radium chloride from eight tons of pitchblende residue. This required much physical labor. She also determined the atomic weight of radium to be 225. Marie Curie died in Savoy, France, after a short illness, on July 4, 1934. She is referred to as the “mother of atomic physics" and is a legend of the twentieth century science. We now know that radium is toxic and should not be handled. However, it is used to fight cancer and in other forms of medicine.


Polonium was discovered in 1898 by Marie Curie and her husband


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