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Women in history: Marie Curie

by Sofia Navarro
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Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist who made groundbreaking discoveries in the field of radioactivity, becoming the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize and the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes in different scientific fields.

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1867, and was raised in a family that valued education and hard work. She moved to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne, where she met Pierre Curie, a fellow physicist who became her husband and scientific partner.

Together, Marie and Pierre conducted pioneering research into radioactivity, a phenomenon discovered just a few years earlier. They discovered two new elements, polonium and radium, and developed techniques for isolating and measuring radioactivity. Their work laid the foundation for many later advances in nuclear physics and chemistry.

In 1903, Marie Curie became the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics, along with her husband and another physicist. She later received a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, for her discovery of radium and polonium.

Despite her many achievements, Marie Curie faced significant discrimination and prejudice as a woman in the male-dominated scientific community. She was denied membership in the French Academy of Sciences and faced criticism for her unconventional personal life, including her decision to pursue a career and raise children.

Marie Curie continued to work tirelessly in the field of radioactivity, even after her husband’s tragic death in a laboratory accident in 1906. She went on to establish the Radium Institute in Paris, where she trained many future scientists and continued to make important contributions to the field.

Marie Curie died in 1934 from leukemia, likely caused by her prolonged exposure to radiation. Her legacy lives on as an inspiration to women in science and a testament to the power of perseverance and hard work in the face of adversity.

TYT Newsroom

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