Monday, 24 January 2011


Marie Curie, Maria Sklodowska, was born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, the daughter of a secondary school teacher. She received a general education in local schools and some scientific training from her father. She became involved in a students' revolutionary organization and found it prudent to leave Warsaw, then in the part of Poland dominated by Russia, for Cracow, which at that time was under Austrian rule. In 1891, she went to Paris to continue her studies at the Sorbonne where she obtained Licenciate ships in Physics and the Mathematical Sciences. She met Pierre Curie, Professor in the School of Physics in 1894 and in the following year they were married. She succeeded her husband as Head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne, gained her Doctor of Science degree in 1903, and following the tragic death of Pierre Curie in 1906, she took his place as Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences, the first time a woman had held this position. She was also appointed Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute of the University of Paris, founded in 1914.

Her early researches, together with her husband, were often performed under difficult conditions, laboratory arrangements were poor and both had to undertake much teaching to earn a livelihood. The discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel in 1896 inspired the Curies in their brilliant researches and analysis which led to the isolation of polonium, named after the country of Marie's birth, and radium. Marie Curie developed methods for the separation of radium from radioactive residues in sufficient quantities to allow for its characterization and the careful study of its properties, therapeutic properties in particular.

Curie throughout her life actively promoted the use of radium to alleviate suffering and during World War I, assisted by her daughter, Irene, she personally devoted herself to this remedial work. She retained her enthusiasm for science throughout her life and did much to establish a radioactivity laboratory in her native city. In 1929 President Hoover of the United States presented her with a gift of $ 50,000, donated by American friends of science, to purchase radium for use in the laboratory in Warsaw.

Curie, quiet, dignified and unassuming, was held in high esteem and admiration by scientists throughout the world. She was a member of the 'Conseil du Physique Solvay' from 1911 until her death and since 1922 she had been a member of the Committee of Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations. Her work is recorded in numerous papers in scientific journals and she is the author of Recherches sur les Substances Radioactives (1904),L'Isotopie et les Éléments Isotopes and the classic Traité' de Radioactivité (1910).

The importance of Curie's work is reflected in the numerous awards bestowed on her. She received many honorary science, medicine and law degrees and honorary memberships of learned societies throughout the world. Together with her husband, she was awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, for their study into the spontaneous radiation discovered by Becquerel, who was awarded the other half of the Prize. In 1911 she received a

second Nobel prize, this time in chemistry, in recognition of her work in radioactivity. She also received, jointly with her husband, the Davy Medal of the Royal Society in 1903 and, in 1921, President Harding of the United States, on behalf of the women of America, presented her with one gram of radium in recognition of her service to science. In 1997, Marie's remains were moved to the Pantheon, France's monument to its heroes. Marie Curie was a great Polish patriot, but she had won a place in the heart of the French people.
Why do we like her? She is a very courageous lady to become the first one to do research on radium which is really risky. We also inspire her perseverance. Even when people demotivated her, she did not give up and continued her research. Marie Curie was also the first lady to be so honored throughout the world.

Ilavenil and Engku


  1. Total plagiarism, last paragraph you should include why you chose her as your idol. Please edit and try not to copy and paste directly from the web.

  2. Ila and Engku,

    Aren't the both of you going to edit this? I am giving mark soon. Please do so before this Saturday.