Maria Salomea (Warsaw, Zarato of Poland, 7 November 1867 – Passy, France, 4 July 1934).
Historically known as Marie Curie, she was a Polish Scientist, Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry, later nationalized as French, famous for her work in the field of Radioactivity, with her husband Pierre Curie.
She was also the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, as well as the first person to gain that recognition in two different fields, receiving in Nobel Prize in Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911). She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of La Sorbonne.
Marie Curie was born on 7 November 1867, in Varsobia, which was at that time part of the Zaratus of Poland, under the power of the Russian Empire. With the name of Maria Salomea Sksodowska, this future scientist came to the world, thus becoming the youngest of the five children between the town syadys-aw Sksodowski and his wife, Bronissawa Boguska.
Marie Curie grew up with her brothers, Zofia, Jósef, Bronissawa and Helena in an intellectual environment, due to her parents’ professions. On the one hand, she was a teacher of physics and mathematics, in middle school, while her mother was a pianist, a singer, and also taught.
However, the tragedy took her life at a very young age, when the family had to assume the loss of the eldest daughter, Zofia, who perished with typhus, two years before the mother also died of tuberculosis.
At the age of twenty-four, in 1891, she moved to France, where she entered the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences of the University of The Soborna, from where she graduated with a degree in Physics, in 1893, being the first of her promotion.
A year later she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, positioning herself as the second in her class, studies these she financed thanks to the money provided by a scholarship from the Alexandrowithch Foundation, which she subsequently returned in full. During this time, she assumed the name of Marie Skeodowska.
His work with Pierre Curie
That same year (1894) she met the Professor of Physics, Pierre Curie, with whom she began working. A year later, on July 26, 1895, they married. The honeymoon was spent traveling around France by bike.
Upon their return, the spouses continue their scientific work in the laboratory. In 1896, Pierre and Marie Curie discovered natural radioactivity. They focused on the study of radioactive leaves, especially the uranium variety, Pechblenda.
Similarly, the Curie’s husbands discovered the radioactive capacity of the Torio. A few years later, in 1898, they managed to discover in the wake of the Pechblenda, which they named Polonio and Radio.
Marie Curie also managed in 1902 to obtain one gram of Radio Chloride, after handling eight tons of Pechblenda. All these works were carried out in the shed of the abode of the Curie spouses. For this they dedicated large working days, in which they sometimes suffered burns, due to the radiation with which they worked.
The Curie husbands then decided to reveal to science all their findings, without suing any patent about their use.
PhDs and Nobel Prizes
Interested in obtaining her PhD, Marie Curie decided with her husband, to present as her work with natural radiation. Based on Henri Becquerel’s research, on uranium salts and the rays they emitted, as well as on the work of Wilhelm Runtgen and her X-rays, the Curie decided to study thoroughly the rays emitted by the Uranium salts.
On June 25, 1903, she was appointed by Becquerel himself and before a jury led by Gabriel Lippmann, Marie Curie became the second woman to obtain a doctorate, obtaining the mention cum laude.
That same year, she won with her tutor Henri Becquerel and her husband Pierre Curie, the Nobel Prize in Physics, due to her great contributions on the “radiation phenomena discovered by Henri Becquerel”, thus becoming the first woman to achieve this award.
Three years after this achievement, tragedy knocked on her door again. In 1906, a traffic accident killed her husband and fellow scientist, Pierre Curie, who died on 19 April of that year, after being run over.
On 15 November 1906, just a few months after Pierre’s departure, Marie Curie assumed the Chair of Physics, of the University of the Sorbonne, which until April of that year had been dictated by her husband.
Marie became the first woman to teach at that university, after more than six centuries of history. The first day of classes attended hundreds of people, in addition to the students, to witness this moment. In 1910, Marie Curie achieved another scientific achievement by obtaining a gram of Pure Radius.
In 1911 she received, for her discovery of Radio, Polonius, the isolation of the Radio and the study of this element, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, becoming the first woman to receive it, as well as the first person to receive two Nobel prizes in different fields.
In the following years she became President of the Institute of Radio. Also, during World War I, Marie Curie invented a small x-ray team, known as the Petit Curie, which facilitated X-rays for soldiers wounded in combat.
In 1921 she visited the United States. A decade later, in 1934, she visited her native Poland. After losing her sight, on 4 July 1934, Marie Curie died in Passy, France, from aplastic anemia, probably caused by her research with radiation. She is survived by her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie (Nobel Prize, Chemistry, 1935) and Eva Curie, a journalist and pianist.
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