The STEM Nobel Laureates series highlights women that have won Noble Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology and Medicine, or Economic Sciences. The Nobel Prize is a set of international awards that recognize significant academic, cultural, or scientific advances. The Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious reward in any field.
In the past, 53 women have won a Nobel Peace prize, with 21 of the women winning in STEM fields. This series highlights these 21 women, recounting the woman's background, accomplishments, and notable quotes.
You may be familiar with the last name of our next female Nobel STEM winner: Irène Joliot-Curie. Yes, indeed, Irène is the daughter of Marie Curie, the subject of our previous article and first female Nobel STEM winner!
On September 12, 1897, Irène Joliot-Curie was born from Marie and Pierre Curie. Irène was the oldest child of her family of four. During her younger years, Irène had to be raised by her paternal grandfather because her parents were working hard to obtain their first Nobel Prize in Physics awarded in 1903. Similar to her mother, Irène was gifted in math as a child.
Tragically, Irène's father died in the spring of 1906 when Irène was eight years old. Needing aid for raising her children, Marie Curie requested that her father stayed with her family. Growing up with her grandfather, Irène was exposed to a wide variety of fields, from politics, natural sciences, and medicine, allowing her to develop a diverse educational background that facilitated her voracious curiosity. Grandfather Eugene passed when Irène was 12.
Irène continued to develop her intellectual prowess when she attended a teaching cooperative arranged by professors at the University of Sorbonne for their children. Dissatisfied by local schools, the professors at Sorbonne organized this cooperative to be taught by eminent professors at the University of Sorbonne to accelerate and advance the children's knowledge. Thus, the children were taught physics by Marie Curie, chemistry by Jean Baptiste Perrin, and mathematics by Paul Langevin. Following the cooperative's end, Irène attended College Sevigne to study for her high school (baccalaureate) degree.
However, Irène was not able to enter academia following her secondary school education. World War I had arrived. Tagging along with her mother, Irène had first-hand experience working in science during her practice as a nurse radiographer. As a nurse radiographer, Irène took X-rays in battlefie