Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a French-Polish physicist and chemist known for her pioneering research on radioactivity.

Early life

Marie Salomea Skłodowska was born Warsaw on 7 November 1867. She was a child of Bronisława and Władysław Skłodowski, both teachers with good reputation. Marie had four more siblings, Zofia , Józef, Bronisława and Helena. At the age of ten, Maria began attending the boarding school operated by her mother.


Marie studied at clandestine Floating University in Warsaw where she began her practical scientific training.. In 1891 Marie moved to study in Paris, there she acquired her higher degrees and conducted most of her scientific work. Marie met Piere Curie in Paris, he was an instructor at the School of Physics and Chemistry, the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI). It was their mutual research of magnetism which brought them together. Later Marie took Piere’s last name and hence became Marie Skłodowska Curie.


In 1896 work of Herni Becquerel led to the discovery of X-rays emitted by uraniam. Important thing about this discovery is that Becquerel found that uranium radiation was completely independent from outside sources, and that it was the Uranium it self that was the source of this radiation. This drew Curie’s attention as she directed her research to uranium rays. During her research, Marie found that the radiation it self was not activated by molecular interaction, but that it was coming from uranium atom it self. Later review of her work concluded that this was the most important piece of work conducted by Marie Curie.

Later she discovered that uranium is not the only radioactive material. Following her research into radioactive materials, Marie and her husband announced the existence of polonium and radium. It was her initiative to start world’s first study into treatment of neoplasms using radioactive isotopes. Her legacy, among other, are Marie Curie institutes in Paris and Warsaw, dedicated to most cunning medical research in the world.

For her research Marie Curie was awarded two Nobel prizes, one for physics and one for chemistry.

Later life

After losing her husband Piere to a traffic accident in 1906, Marie took over most of his work and it was then that she completely risen from her husbands shadow. In her later years Curie headed the Curie Pavilion, a radioactivity laboratory created for her by the Pasteur Institute and the University of Paris.

Marie’s work extended through the years and was well accepted all over the world. Ironically Marie’s future was sealed by her very own work. She died at the Sancellemoz Sanatorium in Passy, France from medical condition which was a consequence of her long-term exposure to radiation.

Marie Curie quotes

“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.”

“I am one of those who think, like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.”

“In science we must be interested in things, not in persons.”