Series: Women who changed the world - Marie Curie


I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy. - Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowsk Curie, the woman who created an incredible impact on science. There will be hardly anyone in STEM who wouldn't have heard her name. She was a physicist and chemist whose research work was in radioactive elements.The first women who won the Nobel Prize twice in two scientific fields. She was a truly exceptional women scientist who mostly spent her time in her laboratory. With such devotion towards her research work, and her achievements, she was the epitome in her field. President Warren Harding once stated she was - the best in womanhood.

It was in the year 1898, Polonium and Radium were discovered by Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie. Polonium was extracted from uranium ore pitchblende with strong radioactivity and Radium was extracted from uraninite. In the year 1903, Marie Curie along with her husband and physicist Henri Becquerel was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work establishing the theory of radioactivity. It was the same year that also earned her PhD in Physics. The term radioactivity was coined by her. She, later on, went on to receive her second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her techniques used in extracting radioactive isotopes and discovering two radioactive elements - Polonium and Radium.

Marie Curie has always been an impressive character. She has worked hard to meet ends by cleaning glassware in university labs in initial days. In those days, it was not easy for women who worked equally to male counterparts. But there she was, countless days, working in a laboratory and proved her worth in the scientific world.It is also known for the fact that she carried vials of radioactive elements with her and worked in the laboratory until her death. There is no doubt that Marie Curie was a multifaceted woman with an ocean of intensity in her research work. A true representation of women scientist. Her remarkable determination and endeavours lead her to reach such pinnacles in the scientific world. Nothing comes easy for anyone and for that she stands high with her work.

Due to long-term exposure to radiation, Marie Curie died in 1934 from aplastic anaemia. Her legacy is still an inspiration to many women in science. We can pay her respect even today, for her contribution and intelligence, not just as a woman scientist but as one of the greatest human being.


With thanks - this article was written by Vrinda Nair.

Photo credit - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie#/media/File:Marie_Curie_c1920.jpg

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