Marie Curie

The Life of Famous Scientist Marie Curie

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Marie Curie “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” This famous quote was said by the Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, you guessed it, it’s Marie Curie.

Early Life

Marie Curie was born Maria Salomea Skłodowska on November 7th 1867 in Warsaw Poland. Her mother was the headmistress of a Private school, but she took after her father a math And physicist instructor. She lived in the Victorian era. Russian government said that the Polish people should not have the right to learn. But her father had other ideas and sent her and sisters to an illegal night school. They avoided the authorities by continuously changing their location. Its name was the floating University. But when she was still a young girl, her mother got very sick, the doctors couldn’t save her. So her father was left to raise all 5 of them alone. At The age of 18, the future Nobel Prize winner Worked as a governess to save up money, she called the job of cruel trial. But finally Once she had saved up enough money she made the 4-day-long trip to France to further her studies. She attended the school of since at the sorborn in 1891. In 1893, Marie graduated from Sorbonne with a degree in physics, becoming the first woman to graduate with such a degree from the university. The following year, she graduated with a degree in mathematics, made possible by a scholarship from Poland.


In 1894, she met her new lab partner Pierre Curie. And in 1895 they got married. This new couple dedicated the rest of their lives to their studies. They discovered radium and polonium. Radium was named for its irresistible radioactive glow. And polonium was named after Marie’s home country Poland. In December 1903, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Pierre Curie, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics, ‘in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.’ But unfortunately on April 19, 1906, Rue Dauphine, Paris, France Pierre Curie did not look before he crossed the road and was run over by a heavy horse and carriage. Marie was crushed, but she didn’t let that stop her, oh no. In 1911, she received a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, in recognition of her work in radioactivity. Marie and her two daughters helped by bringing X-rays to the front line.

Global Influence

Unfortunately, Marie Curie died on July 4, 1934, Sancellemoz. She died at 66 years of age. But what she left behind will never be forgotten. She founded the X-ray and a cure for some cancers. Marie made a big difference in the world of science and technology that we have today. Marie helped out on the front line bring X-rays to the soldiers so that the doctors would know exactly where the broken bone was and what to operate on. She stood up for women’s rights because she did not accept the fact that just because she was a girl she could not go to school, so she went to France to prove them wrong. She is a role model for women who want to pursue higher education in science math and anything really.


I chose Marie because my mom had cancer and it was Marie’s discovery that saved her life. What Marie Curie did really made anon impact on my life, and that’s why I think it was a good idea to dig deeper and learn more about her.

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The Life of Marie Curie, the Hero of Science and a Feminist Icon

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Marie Curie, although born into a humble background in Poland as the youngest of five children in a low-income family, went on to revolutionize scientific research and discoveries through her work as a pioneer in the field of radioactivity and the treatment of cancer, thus moving forward the capabilities of modern medicine, winning the Nobel Prize and justly earning the title of a hero.

Curie wasn’t born into greatness, but despite the prejudices of the era and her unfortunate circumstances she lived in working against her, she managed to achieve heroic status with her own hands. She loved learning from a young age, and after her mother passed away and her father was therefore unable to help her through financial means, she decided to work as a governess, working and researching in her spare time. In 1891 she moved to France as her sister found her an opportunity to get accommodation there, and she became a student at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Women didn’t have the right to go to university in her home country, Poland, so she was able to follow her dream in France, studying physics and mathematics. This is an example of how she was persistent and passionate in her drive for knowledge, therefore inspiring those who find themselves in similar unfortunate positions to follow their dreams.

In 1894 she married Pierre Curie, a fellow scientist, whom she married, and the couple went on to research the theory of radioactivity, a theory which Marie Curie discovered, by observing rays given off by the chemical uranium at the School of Chemistry and Physics in Paris. After discovering that a chemical named pitchblende was more radioactive than uranium, they discovered an extremely radioactive element named Polonium through extracting it from the pitchblende. They named the element after Curie’s homeland of Poland. They then realized that there was another element contained in pitchblende, which they discovered and isolated, called radium.

In 1903 Curie won the Nobel Prize for physics along with her husband Pierre and another scientist, Henri Becquerel, for her discoveries. Her husband died a few years later in an accident, she went on to take his position as a professor, thus becoming the first female professor at the University of Sorbonne, which is why many feminists cite her as an exemplary pioneer of women’s rights. She faced many difficulties in this time as many people stereotyped her as she was a female who had come from Eastern Europe, an area which was historically looked down on, to suddenly ‘steal’ a position that would normally have been given to a male from Western Europe. However, the fact that she became a professor despite this shows that she is resilient, which is a quality observed in many heroes. Despite the grief she suffered after her husband’s death, she carried out further research and collected her second Nobel Prize in 1911.

Curie’s research prompted the University of Sorbonne to build laboratories which investigated radioactivity and treating cancer. As is well known, the radiation which Curie discovered is one of the main treatments for cancer nowadays, and many cancer patients are treated with radium isotopes and radioactive elements. Without her research, modern medicine would not be in the state it is today, and as this research eventually saved many lives of cancer patients, one could suggest that Curie is a hero in this respect.

Throughout World War I she developed medical technology which helped Allied soldiers on the front line, for example X-rays, and was named Director of the Red Cross Radiological Service. She also worked near the front line treating injured soldiers.

Curie died in 1934 of a disease called aplastic pernicious anemia, developed due to her having been directly exposed to harmful radioactive chemicals throughout her scientific research. Although the effects of these chemicals were not known at the time, one could argue that Curie was extremely selfless, a quality seen in heroes, as she dedicated and sacrificed her life so that scientific research could advance and so that cancer parents today could be cured. Today many people are inspired by her work and her values; a charity in the United Kingdom which helps cancer patients is named after her.

To conclude, I chose to research the life of Marie Curie as along with her carrying out essential scientific research which saved many people’s lives, she can be seen as a feminist icon due to her unprecedented achievements, becoming the first female professor at her university, which is why she can be seen as a hero.

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A Scientific Contribution of Marie Curie

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Marie Curie: The Most Radioactive Woman on Earth

Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist from Poland. She is famous for her research and discoveries in radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only woman to win two. She also was the only person to win in multiple sciences. Curie had many achievements, such as being the first female professor at the University of Paris, a theory of Radioactivity and techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. Her main discoveries were two radioactive elements, Polonium and Radium. Not only did she make an impact on the world by scientific and radioactive discoveries, but she also helped in women’s place and equality in the scientific community. Curie is in the top 100 most influential people of the millennium in the rank #53, because of her work that influenced the modern world of today.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie was born in Warsaw, in what was then called The Kingdom of Poland (now called Poland) in 1867. She went to some local schools, which gave her a general education, but thanks to her father, she got some scientific training. Since Warsaw was dominated by Russia, she had to leave to Cracow, which was then under the Austrian rule. Sklodowska went to Paris in 1891, to study Physics and the Mathematical Sciences at the Sorbonne University. During her studies in Paris, she met Pierre Curie, a professor in the School of Physics, and in 1895 they got married. Marie returned to Poland, hoping that she would be able to work in her chosen field, but was denied because she was a woman. She came back to Paris, and worked with her husband in the science department. Together they had two daughters, Irene and Eve. In 1903, Marie Curie gained her Doctor of Science degree, and in 1906 became the Professor of General physics, making her the first female professor at Sorbonne. Unfortunately, in the same year, Pierre Curie was killed in a road accident.

Up until Pierre Curie’s death, the Curie’s worked as a team. They worked in laboratories, testing radioactivity, and eventually discovering information on radioactivity, and radioactive elements. Marie Curie even said, “Neither of us could foresee that in beginning this work we were to enter the path of a new science which we should follow for all our future”. The results of all their hard work, was discovering the chemical element Polonium (named after her country, Poland) in 1898. During the same year, together they also discovered the chemical element, Radium. Both of the elements that they discovered are highly radioactive. Thanks to their teamwork in the physics department, they were awarded the Noble Prize in Physics in 1903, after publishing their work. After Pierre’s death, Marie Curie won her second Nobel Prize, this time for Chemistry, in 1911. This made her the first woman to win a Noble Prize, the only woman to win two Noble Prizes, and the only person to win in different sciences.

When World War I erupted, Curie became the Director of the Red Cross Radiology Service, and set up France’s first military radiology centre. “She directed the installation of twenty mobile radiological vehicles and another 200 radiological units at field hospitals in the first year of the war” (“DK Biography: Marie Curie by Vicki Cobb). Later, she started training women as aides. She also worked on a book, entitled Radioactivity, which was later published in 1935. Marie Sklodowska Curie died in 1934, from aplastic anemia, due to her long-time exposure to radiation, which can be very dangerous. She was buried in Sceaux, next to her husband Pierre, but in 1995 they were transferred to the Pantheon in Paris. “This made her the first, and only woman to be honoured with interment in the Pantheon on her own merits” (DK Biography: Marie Curie by Vicki Cobb). Although she died almost 80 years ago, her legacy still lives on.

After Marie Curie died, she left behind the impact that her life and discoveries made on the modern scientific world. She influenced lives of many, especially scientists. Her importance is reflected in the various awards bestowed on her (not to mention the noble prizes). Most of all, she proved that women can be just as intelligent as men, and can achieve the same things. For female scientists, Marie Curie is a true hero and inspiration. “In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked” (Cornell University professor L. Pearce Williams). Since radiation is often used to treat cancer, Curie saved many lives by her discoveries. In conclusion, Marie Curie deserves to be in the top 100 most influential people of the millennium, because of her impact in the science department.

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Priceless Contributions of Marie Curie to Science

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Inner World of Marie Curie written by Barbara Goldsmith highlights the scientific, along with personal and societal, accomplishments of Marie Curie throughout her career in science. Goldsmith does a tremendous job of not only portraying Marie Curie as the patriotic and selfless genius that she was, but also writes about Marie’s personal struggles with chronic depression and the difficulty she had while being a mother and a globally known scholar. Goldsmith also emphasizes the importance of Marie Curie’s work as a scientist and also how her work would facilitate the development of cancer treatment. Although this book mainly focuses on Marie Curie’s life and her scientific career, it also elaborates on her personal life that she often kept hidden from public eye.

Marie Curie was born Maria Salomea Skłowdowska on November 7th, 1867 in Russian occupied Warsaw, Poland. During the mid 1860’s, Poland was divided into three ruling nations: Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Unfortunately for Marie and her family, Warsaw was located in the Russian occupied part of Poland; however, seeing that Marie’s parents were both well respected educators, they did alright for themselves. Although Marie’s family was able to keep themselves afloat given the very harsh environment, they were not able to send all of their children to university. Having recognized this, Marie’s sister, Bronya, and Marie made a deal that stated that they would fund each other’s schooling. Bronya went first, and in order to pay for her sister’s education, Marie became a governess. After a certain amount of time, Marie fell in love with the son of her employer which was followed by a lot of tension where Marie worked. Ultimately, Marie and her love interest were not to be married due his family protesting that Marie was too poor to be married into the family. Goldsmith does a fantastic job describing the pain that this caused Marie. This would be the one of very few occurrences where Marie would become very apathetic, lethargic, and depressed. Although these occurrences were to only happen during points of high stress in Marie’s life, they were enormous in magnitude.

After having helped Bronya through medical school, Marie thought it would be best to move to Paris, France to further her studies in mathematics and physics at Sorbonne University. It was there in the Spring of 1895 where she met French physicist Pierre Curie. Marie and Pierre took an immediate interest in each other’s work and interests, which would eventually grow into a relationship between the two. In fact, it was “Pierre’s heartfelt letters [that] helped her to pursue her doctorate in Chemistry” (Goldsmith 47). It was around this time where Marie started to become obsessed with her studies. Throughout her life leading up to her collegiate career, she has always been obsessed with being the best but around this time she was determined to learn instead of obsessing for perfection. At one point, when Marie was preparing for her exams, she constantly felt as if she was not ready. In letters written to her sister, she constantly stated how exams were drawing near and how unprepared she felt. Marie spent every waking moment in the library, forgoing meals or any type of break until “one day Marie fainted in the library and a Polish student told Bronya of this” (Goldsmith 51). We also see this type of anxiety again when she became extremely nervous “when the examination was handed to her so much so she couldn’t read the exam for several minutes” (Goldsmith 51). Goldsmith explains that this type of anxiety would be present throughout her life; however, this scholastic induced anxiety would be put on hold when Pierre and Marie became married on July 26th, 1895. According to the journal that Marie kept, the moment of her wedding was to be the happiest part of her life. Marie and Pierre still continued conducting research together while being a married couple.

Shortly after marrying, Marie and Pierre had their first child on September 12th, 1897, Irène Joliot-Curie. It was also around this time where Marie took a key interest in these certain kind of rays that were being emitted from these uranium salts that were initially discovered by Henri Becquerel. Becquerel also noticed that when a stream of gas was passed through these rays, they were suddenly able to conduct electricity. At the time, The Academy of Sciences had no particular interest in the subject so most of the research being conducted on the subject was individual research. Pierre was initially observing piezoelectric crystals but later decided that he much rather be doing what Marie was doing instead.

After having decided to work together to find the source of the rays being emitted from these uranium salts, Marie and Pierre were constantly working. Goldsmith explains that this constant work would leave Marie feeling like she was neglecting her child. She later explains how she felt like a poor mother to her child. Marie had to hire not one, but two wet nurses to keep her child fed due to Marie’s inability to do it herself. Goldsmith makes it clear that by no means was Marie a bad mother, but she struggled with being a caretaker and a full time scientist. Struggling with being a mother and to find time to explicitly work on her doctoral thesis, Marie and Pierre still continued to find the source of the of rays being emitted from the uranium ore. Marie concluded that there had to be some other element that was being unaccounted for that was giving off a such “radioactive” signal. Isolating this new element that Marie had hypothesized would require tons of a certain mineral called pitchblende. Pitchblende had been used to discover uranium in 1789 by Martin Klaproth but Marie had hypothesized that there was another element that could be extracted from the mineral. Pitchblende was an ore that was certainly not the most healthy mineral to be around, given that it’s radioactive, but also due to the fact that isolating Marie’s hypothesized element would be an extremely dirty and dangerous procedure. Constant distillation in hopes to isolate even a tiny amount of Marie’s element would result in extremely toxic fumes and overall health deteriorating procedures. Goldsmith states that Marie had a unique sense of dexterity that allowed her to isolate the element efficiently. After many painful months of isolating, Marie possessed enough of her foreign element enough to determine the atom’s atomic mass, Marie named the new element “Radium”.

Marie, Pierre, and Henri were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their contribution to the understanding of radioactivity and for their discovery of Radium in 1903. Ironically enough, only Pierre and Henri Becquerel were originally nominated for the Nobel Prize and Marie was added to the nomination only days before the award was given. Also, Marie became the first female doctorate of science in Europe due to her remarkable discovery of Radium. Marie and Pierre would continue their research on radioactivity after they were awarded the Nobel Prize. After a prolonged amount of time of working with Radium and various other radioactive substances, it became obvious that radioactive substances were definitely dangerous to be around. Pierre started getting extremely fatigued to the point where he was no longer able to continue lectoring at Sorbonne. Marie noted this in the numerous journals that she kept stating how she became extremely worried about the health of her husband and she attributed it to his constant exposure to these radioactive substances. Marie then also became paranoid of her own well-being but she still decided to continue her research.

On April 19th, 1906, Pierre lost his footing and fell while crossing the street resulting in a fatal skull fracture by a horse-drawn carriage. The death of Pierre shocked Marie to the point where she refused to eat for several weeks and lost almost 20% of her body weight. She did not return to her lab until several months following Pierre’s untimely death. Marie had inherited Pierre’s chair at Sorbonne Academy of Sciences in Paris becoming its first female professor. She was again awarded another Nobel Prize in chemistry for her discovery of radium and polonium. However, Marie Curie was requested to not accept the award due to the fact that the entire world was aware that Marie was having a romantic involvement with one of Pierre’s graduate students after his death. Goldsmith states to us that Marie became almost apathetic regarding her known relationship with Pierre’s old student. She then explains to us that Marie had both of her nobel prizes melted down in order to provide funds to the war effort during the first World War. Marie, being the super patriot that she was, developed a driveable X-ray machine on the fields of battle during World War I. She had used this machine as diagnostic tool for injured soldiers on the battlefield. Much later, Marie Curie was awarded “The Legion of Honor” by the French government for her contributions to the war effort. Goldsmith then continues to explain that, although chronically depressed, Marie felt a sense of purpose in the work that she had done.

After being surrounded for such toxic substances for a significant part of her life, Marie lived to be 66 years old. She died on July 4th, 1934 of aplastic anemia which was a result of her high exposure to radiation. She now remains in the Pantheon tomb in Paris, France. The majority of Marie Curie’s work is well know and her research has been carefully studied and reenacted; however, Marie’s personal struggles and her mental health issues were well kept hidden from the public. Barbara Goldsmith does a phenomenal job of both explaining Marie’s scientific accomplishments throughout her career and also elaborating on Marie’s personal mental health. Marie Curie usually has a reputation of being a stone cold, expressionless, and a detached scientist; however, Barbara Goldsmith in her book Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie perfectly captures Marie Curie’s research, her priceless contributions to science, and her emotional complexity.

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Marie Curie: a Major Agent in the Scientific Revolution

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Marie Curie is one of the most important figures in science with her pioneering research on radioactivity: a technique for isolating radioactive isotopes. Her discovery of polonium and radium paved the way for many modern medical inventions and treatments that would not exist if not for her efforts. She was a major agent in the scientific revolution in the 19th and 20th century which allowed experimental investigations beyond the macroscopic world. However, Marie Curie’s significance is not just limited to her scientific contributions. A woman pioneer in a heavily male dominated field of study, Marie Curie proved that women were as intelligent and worthy of recognition of men. As “perhaps the first major woman scientist to receive full credit for her work”, she proved that gender played no part in greatness.

Born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland as Maria Sklodowska, Marie Curie’s childhood was marked with Russian dominance. Poland hadn’t been independent for almost century with rule over its lands divided between Russia, Austria and Prussia. From a young age Curie experienced oppression aseducation, for both men and women, had become a political issue as the Russian sought to dominate the people. They even took laboratory instruction out of the Polish curriculum to possible create restrictions in the progress of the Polish people. Yet, despite the odds against her due to her nationality and gender, Curie continued to pursue her passion for the sciences.

From a young age Marie Curie displayed a keen interest in mathematics and physics, often ranking first in her classes throughout high school. Since university admission was forbidden for women in Poland, Curie travelled to Paris to further her education. Despite the city having an unsupportive environment towards female scientists, Marie Curie was admitted to the Sorbonne where she worked diligently to complete her studies. For her entire life, Curie would be constantly reminded that, because she was a female, she would never contribute great things to the scientific community. Sexism would follow her wherever she went.

The main reason why Marie Curie is the greatest person in the 20th century to ever live is due to scientific works. She was interested in Henri Becquerel’s work on uranium rays which influenced her hypothesis that “the emission of rays of uranium compounds could be an atomic property of the element uranium – something built into the very structure of its atoms”. Her hypothesis led her to experiment with other elements, trying to find if they would emit Becquerel rays or, in more common terms, were radioactive. While her experiments may seem insignificant, her crucial discoveries proved that the prior belief that the atom was the smallest particle in existence was false. Curie, along with her husband Pierre, worked intensely to isolate possible new elements responsible for high radioactivity. They had to obtain pitchblende (mineral containing uranium) and attempt to extract new materials from that. The extractions were grueling, hazardous as the Curies were exposes to toxic radioactive particles in a poorly ventilated space. The couple knew the dangers of working with the pitchblende as Pierre became to show weakness, dizziness, pain and blurred vision which are all signs of overexposure to radiation. However, they both pressed on to eventually discover two new radioactive elements: polonium and radium. The very fact that Curie sacrificed her life for science is no small feat, making her deserving of the title of one of the greatest people to ever live.

For her remarkable work, Marie Curie and her husband Pierre received the Novel Prize in Physics in 1903. However, despite the couple’s mutual efforts, Curie was described as Pierre’s assistant. In 1906, Curie experienced a great tragedy in her life as Pierre was accidently killed by a carriage. Curie was absolutely devastated, stating that she had lost “all hope and all support for the rest of my life”. The difficulties of continuing her work almost prevented her from returning to the scientific field, but it was ultimately her love for the sciences that gave her solace and comfort. Despite the tragedy, Pierre’s death was groundbreaking for women’s rights as French academic authorities made the historic decision of offering Curie Pierre’s former position as a professor at the Sorbonne. Her first lecture as celebrated as successful victory for feminism as she was the first woman to ever teach at the institution. Her second, and independent, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 for isolating radium and studying the nature and compounds of the element made her the first woman to win two Nobel Prizes. She inspired change in social norms, making it acceptable for women to pursue academic careers in any field of their choosing and proved that women and men were of equal intellectual capabilities.

Marie Curie’s research has led to a significant impact on medicine. During World War I, she found a usage for her studies in the form of x-ray technology. She spearheaded efforts to set up x-ray stations in French hospitals and to develop portable x-ray machines for treating wounded soldiers in remote locations. She often examined the wounded on scene and trained nurses to interpret the data provided by the machines. Today, scientists have built upon her discoveries of radioactivity to create radiotherapy: a type of cancer treatment that controls tumour cells through radiation. This treatment is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy and has saved countless number of lives.

In exchange for revolutionizing the way the world saw radiation, Marie Curie paid with the dear price of her life. Her death in 1934 due to leukemia caused by exposure to radiation shows her dedication and willingness to her studies. Her remarkable life was filled with triumphs and difficulties that reflect her caring and determined character. Given her scientific accomplishments and those of many other women whom she inspired, science and the word should be grateful for Marie Curie.

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