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Marie Curie

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Marie curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was Polish-French physicist and chemist best known as the winner of a Nobel Prize for discovering radioactivity. She was the first woman to get honored with a Nobel prize and was also the first woman to teach in the university of Paris. [1] She married Pierre Curie who was also a physicist and shared the Nobel prize. The theory of radioactivity, which was her biggest accomplishment was not the only thing she did. She also found a technique to isolate radioactive isotopes and discovered new elements named, Polonium and Radium. Even though she was a citizen of France, she never forgot her old town in Poland. She would teach her two children Polish and Polish history. She even named an element after her native country. [2]

Accomplishment

Pierre and Marie commenced experimenting to discover new radioactive elements. A total of two elements were discovered and their names are polonium and radium. They worked for four years to prove that radium really exists and in order to do that they had to work with uranium ore and was provided by Austrian government. Marie only had to pay for transportation. In 1903 Pierre and Marie received Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of radioactivity. They used the money they received to discover new elements and to help their family members. In 1911 they also received another Nobel Prize for discovering Polonium and Radium.[3]

Pierre Curie

During the first World War, Marie thought of an idea that can help the soldiers from the injuries. She served her country by outfitting the vehicles and x-rays that are suitable and can be taken to the hospitals in battlefield. Bullets and Shrapnel could be located by those X ray machine. Marie and her daughter Irene trained 150 nurses to become X ray technicians. After her marriage with Pierre, more fruitful results came out from their experiments. Pierre quit his research on crystal and started collaborating with Marie's works. they found that the fractions that contain Bismuth have a strong activity. Marie and Pierre continued their research. As results they found that the more the amount gets taken away from Bismuth, the more its activity increases. By the end of the year, they had discovered the substance that is 300 times stronger than Uranium. [4] To research for a thesis, Marie Curie decided to look into Uranium Rays. She used the device that Marie and her husband invented fifteen years ago to measure the electrical charge, to investigate. By using the device, she figures out that Uranium Ray causes the air around to behave electricity. The first results she got from the investigation, was the activity of the uranium compounds is only based on the quantity of uranium present. Her best and most important accomplishment she has done was discovering that radiation does not come from the interaction of molecules, but it comes from the atom itself.[5] After Marie's husband was killed and she took over her husband's job in college, she focused on her research and caring for her daughter's. Her older daughter Irene, married Frédéric Joliot and also became a famous scientist and Nobel laureate herself. Marie worked with André Debierne, a French chemist, to separate pure radium metal. In 1914, University of Paris built and donated Institut du Radium to Marie Curie. It really provided her with more space which was much needed for her experiment. [6]

Personal life

Marie Curie's maiden name was Maria Sklodowska, but her main nickname was Manya. She was born in Warsaw When Poland was under domination of Russia. Marie's parents were both teachers but could not feed their family well enough so they had to take boarders. Marie helped with meal, but she still won the medal at local high school where the classes were held in Russian. [6]

Women could not get a higher education in Poland. So she joins as a governess. Marie Curie received a general education at her local schools and was trained with science by her father. She got involved in students' revolutionary organization which made her necessary to move from Warsaw where she was born and raised. She went to Paris to continue her studies and got Licenciateships in Physics and the Mathematical Sciences.[6] During her trip to Paris, she stayed away from the studies for nearly six years. By the time she arrived to Paris, she did not know how to speak in French, but her enjoyment at Sorbonne and all the little opportunities helped her with language. [3] There she met Pierre Curie who was a professor in physics and married him in 1894. She left the Catholic church after marrying Pierre, since Pierre was in any religion. Their marriage was devoted in radioactivity. Marie and Pierre had two daughters and their names were Irene who was born in 1897 and Eve who was born in 1904. During their childhood, Marie was a physics instructor at the normal school in France. In 1903, Marie was awarded a Doctor of science degree from the University of Paris Later that year, she was awarded with Nobel Prize in physics along Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel. [7]


In 1906, Pierre's health started to go downward due to the long experiment with radioactivity. Pierre was killed in a car accident. Her family was overwhelmed by sadness. But it did not stop Curie from her works, in fact in strengthened her with works. On May 13, she filled Pierre's position as the first female teacher in Sorbonne. She won Nobel Prize in 1911 again. After she won the prize, many other scientists became jealous and spread a rumor that she won the prize just because her husband died and the commission gave her for pity. They also spread a rumor that she had an affair with one of Pierre's student. It also ended her career. After her big achievement in World war 2, in 1921, she traveled America when President Warren Harding gave her a gram of radium purchased with a collection taken up among American Women. In 1922, as a member of the French Academy of Medicine she devoted her work to medical applications of radioactive substances. In 1932, the Radium Institute of Warsaw, Poland opened, under the directorship of Marie's sister, Bronia. In 1934, age of 67, she died from leukemia. [8]

It was one of the experiment in her research that is thought to kill her. She received 15 gold medal awards, 19 degrees, and many other honors. She opened new era in chemistry world and also showed the world what women can do.

Time line of Marie Curie

1867 Born

1876 Older sister dies of typhus.

1978 Mother dies of tuberculosis.

1891 Became a student at Sorbonne, in Paris, France.

1894 Meets Pierre Curie.

Does study on the magnetic properties of steel.

1895 Marries Pierre.

1896 Becomes interested in glowing rays.

1897 Daughter Irene is born.

1900- 1906 Teaches physics at Sevres Higher Normal School for Girls.

1902 Isolates pure radium for the first time.

Father dies

1903 Shares the Nobel Prize in physics with Pierre.

1904 Daughter Eve is born.

1906 Pierre is killed in an accident.

1908 Appointed full professor at the Sorbonne.

1911 Awarded Nobel Prize in chemistry.

1934 Dies of radiation poisoning in Sancellemoz, France. [9]

Legacy

Marie Curie's distribution to physics and chemistry helped the world to get in shape of twentieth and twenty-first centuries. At that time, in order for her to accomplish what she did, she had to overcome the barriers that were in her way because she was a woman. She was ahead of her time, and her tremendous achievements allowed her to overcome her problems. [6] Unlike other scientists who gained their fame, she was uncorrupted, emancipated, and independent. Albert Einstein also mentioned that Marie Curie is probably the only person who was not corrupted by her fame that she had won. [10]

References

  1. The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903 by unknown Author, The Nobel Foundation 1903 , unknown Date.
  2. Marie Curie by Matt Gingo, MMV Prof. Pavlac's Women's History Site, November 2000.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Title Phil Ament, Ideafinder, 1997-2007 .
  4. MARIE CURIE by Patsy Stevens, Garden of Praise , unknown Date.
  5. MARIE CURIE by unknown author, Wikipedia , unknown Date.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Marie Curie by unknown Author, oracle, Unknown Date.
  7. Title Unknown author, Recognition and disappointment, Unknown date .
  8. Marie Curie Matt Gingo, Pavlac's Women's History Site, November 2000.
  9. Curie Biography by unknown author, ESSORTMENT , unknown Date.
  10. AP Central by Dolores Gende, Parish Episcopal School , unknown Date.