Super Scientists

Marie Curie
(1867 - 1934)

Original name, Marja Sklodowska. Born in Warsaw, Poland. She studied mathematics, physics and chemistry in Paris, where she met and married Pierre Curie (1859 - 1906). In 1903, she and Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for research on the radioactivity of uranium, along with Antonie Becquerel.

She discovered the radioactivity of thorium; discovered polonium and radium, and isolated radium from pitchblende. She and her husband, Pierre, were awarded the Nobel prize in physics (1903), but she won the prize on her own in chemistry (1911). In 1910 she had published a long paper on radioactivity and this time it was all her own work. She was given a second Nobel Prize, and became the first person to receive this award twice.

Unfortunately, the repeated contact with radioactive elements took their toll on Madame Curie. She died from leukemia, a type of cancer, "in July 1934, exhausted and almost blinded, her fingers burnt and stigmatised by 'her' dear radium," according to a Biography of Marie Curie from "Label France" Information Magazine (vol. 21).

Madame Curie's name is also used as a unit of measurement of the radioactivity of an element.

More about Marie Curie Photo Credit: American Institute of Physics, Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, W.F. Meggers Collection.

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