Curie, Marie

chemist (1867-1934)

Born in Poland as Manya Sklodowska, she is famous for her work on radioactivity. In fact, she and her husband, Pierre, first coined that word. She won the Nobel prize twice, first in 1903 (jointly with her husband, and with Henri Becquerel) for the discovery of radium and polonium, and again (by herself) in 1911 for the isolation of pure radium. The American Association of University Women provides this information on Mme Curie's research.

"The year was 1919. Europe had been ravaged by World War I. And radium was far too expensive for a scientist of modest means to afford for experiments. Even one as famous as Madame Marie Curie.

As a result, Madame Curie's ground-breaking research had reached a virtual standstill..."

AAUW members from Maine to California helped raise an astonishing $156,413, enabling Madame Curie to purchase one gram of radium and continue her experiments. Experiments that helped her create the field of nuclear chemistry and forever change the course of science."

We find these three quotes attributed to her

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done


Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood

Madame Curie ultimately died from leukemia ("aplastic pernicious anemia of rapid, feverish development"); thought to be an effect of her experiments with radiation. Despite receiving two Nobel Prizes, Madame Curie was never admitted to the French Academie des Sciences.

Today, a Curie unit is defined as the activity of 1 gram of radium; 3.7 x 1010 disintegrations (that's 10 to the 10th power).

Another reference includes:

Who, what and where. A lot of this is in Dutch.

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