Madame Curie - A life for science

"Among all the famous people, she is the only one whom fame has not spoiled, " Albert Einstein once said about the world-famous physicist. Marie Curie was born in Warsaw in 1867 as Marya Sklodowska. Her moving biography, her life for science, served as a subject for numerous books and impressive films.

Awards and Honors

In 1891, the gifted young woman left her homeland and began studying physics and mathematics at the progressive Paris Sorbonne. In Poland at that time only men were allowed to enter universities. In 1895 she marries the French physicist Pierre Curie. From now on, they put their lives together in the service of science.

Their years of research lead to sensational results. In 1903 she received the Nobel Prize in Physics for her much-noticed work on radium and the discovery of radioactivity, which she shares with Henri-Antoine Becquerel, a French physicist and mineralogist. Marie Curie was thus the first woman to receive this award and the only person to receive this honor twice. In 1912 she was awarded the Nobel Prize a second time for the isolation of the element radium - this time for chemistry. The name Curie served until 1986 as a unit of measurement (Ci) for radioactivity.

The flip side of the coin

Her scientific sensational successes were overshadowed by personal tragedies. The discovery of radioactive radiation marked a milestone in the history of medicine. The downside of the coin, however, the dangers and negative sides, came slowly to the surface. Marie Curie's second child dies shortly after birth from the effects of radioactive radiation. Her husband Pierre, already badly damaged by radiation, is the victim of a traffic accident. She herself dies of leukemia in 1934, caused by years of unprotected working with radioactive substances.

Her daughter Irene soon followed in the footsteps of the famous mother. Together with her husband Frederic Joliot she received in 1935 for the discovery of artificial radioactivity, the Nobel Prize in Physics. One of the greatest tragedies of humanity has been spared Marie Curie; the abuse of scientific results as a means of destruction: the explosion of the atomic bomb.

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