Marie Curie: first woman - Nobel laureate

Marie Curie - the first famous woman scientist. She also became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize, and the first person in the world to receive two Nobel Prizes. If you ask: "Who is the most famous scientist?", Most people will remember the name of Curie on a par with Newton, Einstein and Darwin.

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Through thorns to diplomas

Maria Skłodowska was born in 1867 in a poor Polish family with five children. The girl's father taught chemistry at the gymnasium, and her mother was a director there. Maria studied hard from an early age, especially since the sciences in the family were held in high esteem. At age 11, her childhood was marred by the death of her mother and elder sister. After a couple of years, Maria graduated from school with a gold medal, but was unable to continue her studies: there was no money in the family. The girl took up tutoring and worked for some time as a governess in a wealthy family to maintain her older sister, Armor, who mastered the granite of science in Paris. The girls entered into a contract: Maria helps her sister until she receives a medical education at the Sorbonne, and after Bronislaw, contains Maria.The sisters could not study at the same time, because they were constrained in their means. Then the young beauty loved the son of the owners and even wanted to get married, but the parents of the careless groom stood in the way of the young ones. Maria vowed never to fall in love again. In his youth, the girl also happened to meet with the brother of Mendeleev himself, he prophesied a great future for her in the exact sciences.

And now Armor graduated and got married. It was decided - Mary's time to go to Paris. In the autumn of 1891, the girl moved to the French capital, and on November 5 she entered the Sorbonne. Fifteen years later, on the same day, she became the first female professor at the Sorbonne. In the meantime, the girl with her head plunged into school and led a reclusive life, sometimes forgetting to even eat. Once she even fainted in front of her sister's husband, she had to feed her relative. In 1893, Maria received a diploma in physics, and in 1894 - in mathematics.

Marie Curie, 1883
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Marie Curie with her father and sisters
A photo:Getty images

Love and physics

Young Maria was introduced to Pierre Curie by the Polish scientist Yousef Kavalsky. Pierre immediately fell in love with the beautiful woman, but looking at her acid-corroded fingers, he understood: the girl was ready for anything for the sake of science.He also provided Mary with a laboratory to work on the magnetic properties of various steels and soon made a marriage proposal. The girl refused, but after persuasion of her relatives, the cherished "yes" answered.

The wedding took place in the summer of 1895 and was strikingly different from the marriages of those years. Mary was wearing a blue wool suit and a blue striped blouse. For lack of funds, lovers did without a wedding feast and wedding. With money donated by relatives, they bought bicycles and left for the “wedding vagrancy” in the villages of the Ile-de-France. Soon, Maria became interested in uranium radiation and began writing a doctoral one.

A photo:Getty images
A photo:Getty images

Radium discovery

In the summer of 1896, Maria received the right to teach science to young women. In 1897 she gave birth to her first daughter Irene and received a fee for the study of the magnetic properties of steel. She discovered two elements: polonium (together with Gustav Bemon) and radium. Maria introduced the concept of "radioactivity", and soon Pierre joined her work.

Trying to synthesize an unknown substance, Maria performed the work of a scientist, engineer, unskilled worker and loader.She dragged bags of raw materials and heavy vessels, poured liquids and for hours interfered with boiling solutions. Working without rest, scientists processed 8 tons of uraninite! With incredible efforts in 1902, Maria singled out the radium decigram, which she kept all her life and bequeathed it to the Radium Institute in Paris. In December 1903, Maria received the Nobel Prize in Physics for working with radioactivity. There was money in the family. Humanity considered radium to be a panacea for cancer, and the structure of plants for the industrial production of radium began. In 1904, Mary became the mother for the second time - her daughter Eve was born.

A photo:Getty images
A photo:Getty images
A photo:Getty images

Tragedy and science

In April 1906, Pierre died under the wheels of a horse-drawn carriage. Maria returned to the laboratory, became a university professor, singled out pure radium metal. In December 1911, she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of polonium and radium, as well as the release of radium. But the men in her life place no longer found.

During World War I, Maria used X-ray technology to treat the military. After she introduced radon therapy in French hospitals and headed the Radium Institute.

Mary died in 1934 from leukemia: the body was knocked down by constant interaction with radioactive substances.

A photo:Getty images
A photo:Getty images
A photo:Getty images

Personal things

Although more than 100 years have passed since the experiments, the personal belongings of the scientist are still contaminated with radioactive substances. They are stored in lead-protected boxes at the National Library in Paris and are considered property of France. Before getting acquainted with her work diaries, library visitors put on protective equipment and sign a form indicating that they are aware of the danger.

Marie Curie’s body is also contaminated with radiation. Her coffin is protected by a 2.5 cm thick layer of lead. The scientist was buried with her husband in the Paris Pantheon.

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