Marie Sklodowska-Curie is internationally acclaimed for her groundbreaking Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, but also for breaking many gender barriers throughout her life. These are five amazing facts about this remarkable scientist.
1. Curie was the first to win two Nobel Prizes
Curie was awarded her first Nobel Prize in 1903 and shared the physics prize along with Pierre Becquerel, her husband. Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize. Curie was awarded her second prestigious award in 1911 for her work in chemistry to isolate radium.
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2. It was all done without the use of fancy labs
Pierre and Curie conducted most of their groundbreaking research and experimentation at a laboratory that Wilhelm Ostwald described as “a cross between a stable or a potato shed.”
3. Nobel Prizes were a family affair
Curie’s daughter, Irene, received her doctorate in 1925. She had joined her mother in the study of radioactivity. Frederic Curie, her husband, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry ten years later for their breakthroughs in the synthesis and characterization of radioactive elements.
4. Curie was the first woman professor at Sorbonne University.
Marie was named to Pierre’s Sorbonne seat after her husband’s tragic 1906 death. She is now the university’s first female professor. She had already been awarded a doctorate in France three years prior.
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5. Curie is buried at the Pantheon in Paris
Curie’s remains and her husband were enshrined at the Pantheon, Paris, in 1995. This mausoleum is reserved for French thinkers. This was her second award and she was the first woman to be awarded it.
Curie wrote this quote in her writing: “Nothing is to be afraid, it is only to understand.” It is now that we can understand more so that we fear less.