Early Life of Marie Curie
Maria Salomea Sklodowska (Marie Curie) was born on 7th November 1867 in Warsaw, the Congress Kingdom of Poland in a Russian empire.
Her father was a secondary school teacher of mathematics and physics. She was the youngest child among her four siblings Zosia (Eldest), Józef, Bronya and Hela.
She completed her education in a local school and received some scientific training from her home tutor her father. At the time when Russia dominated Poland, she participated in the student’s revolution. As a child, she was always applauded for her extraordinary memory.
Marie Curie received a gold medal at the age of 16 for completion of her secondary education at Russian Lycée. Due to financial problems in her family, she started teaching to earn money and due to the only male- university in Warsaw she continued her studies secretly in a ‘free University’ including some of the women workers in her classes.
Her sister Bronya and Marie both wanted to learn and earn. They were bright students and wanted to learn medical science and physics respectively. But due to the financial burden, it was difficult for them to pursue further studies abroad.
Later for five years, her sister Bronya went to study medicine in Paris and Marie sponsored her studies working as a governess and tutor. This was the time she started reading a lot about physics chemistry and mathematics. Her free time was her greatest treasure hours.
Her Journey to Paris and University of Paris
In 1891, Maria went to Paris. She started calling herself Marie and attended lectures by Paul Appel, Edmound Bounty, Gabriel Lippmann and others in Sorbonne i.e. the University of Paris. She completed her studies in Paris and acquired a degree in physics and mathematical sciences.
Marriage and Discovery of Radium
In 1894, she falls in love with the physics professor Pierre Curie, and soon on 25 July 1895 they both got married. Their partnership was the start of the famous discoveries for the world starting with polonium in 1898 and a few months later they discovered radium with the help of chemist André-Louis Debierne.
With her brilliant minds, she grabbed the post of head of the physics laboratory at the University of Paris not mentioning she succeeded in her husband’s post. In 1903, she completed her doctorate in science and in the same year the couple was awarded the Davy medal of the Royal Society.
First Nobel Prize of Marie Curie
Later in 1903 itself, the couple was awarded the most prestigious award the Nobel Prize for Physics shared with Henry Becquerel for the ingenious discovery of radioactivity. Throughout her life, she tried to make people aware of the benefits of the radioactive for healing from suffering especially at the time of World War I.
Her daughters Irene (born in 1897) and Eve (born in 1904) were kids who helped their parents in some of their remedial works. Despite the traditional values of raising kids, Marie decided to continue her scientific experiments and research for the radioactive particles.
Death of her Husband
Death of her Husband Pierre on April 19, 1906, was quite unusual and sudden that turned her life completely. After her husband’s death, she decided to devote herself into the long experiments and scientific research she could not complete with her husband Pierre.
Her husband’s vacant post at the university was filled by Marie Curie herself, becoming the first women to be appointed as professor of physics to teach in Sorbonne on 13 May 1906. She became one of the titular professors in the year 1908 and published her radioactivity treatise in 1910.
Second Nobel Prize for Marie Curie
She grabbed her second Nobel Prize in 1911 for isolating pure radium. She founded a radium institute laboratories in 1911 which was built at the University of Paris. After a few years, radium institute became the finest nuclear institute of physics and chemistry.
Marie curie’s daughter Irene joined the institute after completion of her studies. In 1922, Marie Curie became the member of the academy of medicine and committed herself to the science of chemistry and radioactivity.
US President Warren G. Harding in 1921, gifted a gram of radium to Marie on behalf of American women. She became a member of International Commission on Intellectual Co-operation by the Council of the League of Nations. In 1934, with the help of Irene and her husband Frederic Joliot curie discovered the Irene, Joliot- Curie of artificial radioactivity.
Death of Marie Curie
Marie curie died a few months after the discovery of artificial radioactivity by Leukemia which was caused by the radiation from the experiments. It was on 4 July 1934 that she died near Sallanches in France.
Her discoveries have been a gem to the world and her knowledge about the radioactive minerals has proved to be beneficial till now. She is the only woman to grab two Nobel Prize in the entire history.
Her ashes have been placed in the pantheon in Paris in 1995. Her office and laboratory at the University of Paris have been kept as it was before her death labelling it as curie museum.