Marie Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Life and Career
Marie Curie was born on 7 November 1867, in Warsaw, Poland. Despite facing numerous challenges as a woman seeking higher education in the late 19th century, Marie displayed exceptional intellect and determination. She attended the clandestine Floating University, where she studied physics and mathematics, nurturing her passion for scientific exploration.
Her scientific career began when she moved to Paris and enrolled at the prestigious Sorbonne University. There, she met Pierre Curie, a physicist whom she would later marry. Together, they embarked on a scientific journey that would change the course of history.
Marie Curie’s pioneering work in the field of radioactivity led to the discovery of two new elements: polonium and radium. In 1898, she coined the term “radioactivity” to describe the spontaneous emission of radiation by certain elements. Her meticulous research and groundbreaking experiments laid the foundation for modern nuclear physics.
Marie Curie continued her scientific pursuits with unwavering determination. She established mobile radiography units during World War I, which came to be known as “Little Curies.” These units provided vital medical support by allowing X-rays to be performed on the battlefield, saving countless lives.
She died on 4 July 1934, in Passy, France.
Award and Legacy
Marie Curie was awarded two Nobel Prizes, in 1903, she became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics, alongside Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel, for their research on radioactivity. Later, in 1911, Marie received her second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, for her discovery and isolation of radium and polonium.
She received numerous accolades, including the Davy Medal, the Matteucci Medal, and honorary doctorates from prestigious universities around the world.
Her contributions to science and her relentless pursuit of knowledge have left an indelible mark on society. Her work revolutionized our understanding of radioactivity and laid the foundation for the development of nuclear energy and radiation therapy. Furthermore, her unwavering dedication and success as a female scientist inspired generations of women to pursue careers in science, breaking barriers and challenging societal norms.