Marie Curie

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Marie Curie

Marie Curie was born on November, 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. She is Polish-French and was the youngest of the 5 children. During high school, she suffered from "nervous disorders" but nevertheless, maintained the highest grades in her class and was the first to graduate at the age of 15. Maria hoped to get an advanced degree at the medical school in University of Warsaw, but women were not allowed to enroll. In 1891, she attended Sorbonne. Realizing that neither her math or science background nor her ability in technical French equaled that of her fellow students and refusing to let go of her goals, she was determined to overcome these drawbacks through hard work. Marie finished first in her master's degree physics course in the summer of 1893 and second in math the following year.


She and her husband Pierre Curie co-discovered radium and polonium, two radioactive elements that are extracted chemically from pitchblende ore. They were presented with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. Marie Curie studied the x-rays the elements emitted. She found out that the harmful properties of x-rays were able to kill tumors. However, she had not patented methods of processing radium or its medical applications at that time. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres. From 1900, Marie had had a part-time teaching post at the École Normale Supérieur de Sèvres for girls. After thousands of crystallizations, Marie finally isolated one decigram of almost pure radium chloride and had determined its atomic weight as 225. She presented the findings of this work in her doctoral thesis on June 25, 1903. In 1911, Marie Curie was honored with a second Nobel prize, this time in chemistry.

Career Launch

Marie Curie decided to research radioactivity after French Scientist Henri Becquerel first discovered a strange source of energy coming from uranium. She discovered that it was radiation and that itcame from the atom itself instead of an interaction between molecules.


On July 4, 1934, Marie Curie passed away from aplastic anemia, a disease which impacts bone marrow and blood stem cells. This is caused by her prolonged exposure to radiation. Her findings represented one of the greatest scientifit contributions, and she continues to influence the world today, in both chemistry and physics.

Designed by: Cecilia Li

Marie Curie

Early Education

Did You Know?

Marie Curie was the first women in history to receive the Nobel Prize. She was also the first person to receive the Nobel Prize twice, in different sciences.


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