The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first ever person to win the Nobel Prize twice, the first woman to become a Professor in the University of Paris and the first to be entombed on her own merits in the Pantheon in Paris. Marie Curie was one of the most accomplished and towering scientific intellects this planet has ever seen. The Polish Physicist conducted pioneering research into radioactivity and coined the word “radioactivity” to describe the phenomena. It was not easy for a woman in the Victorian era to achieve such feat, but Marie did it.
On 7 November 1867 in the quaint city of Warsaw in what was then the Kingdom of Poland a baby girl was born in a family of prominent educators. She was named Maria Salomea Skłodowska, the fifth and youngest child in the family. When she was ten years old, Maria attended a boarding school and next she attended a gymnasium for girls, from which she graduated on 12 June 1883 with a gold medal. Scaling the rungs of academia terrifically fast, Marie was only 24 in 1891 when she earned higher degrees and conducted groundbreaking scientific works.
In 1903, she bagged a Nobel Prize in Physics, an award she shared with her husband Pierre Curie and Physicist Henri Becquerel. The efforts of Marie and her husband led to the discovery of radioactive elements polonium and radium while working on mineral pitchblende. Curie and her husband declined to go to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm to receive the prize due to being too busy and Pierre not particularly liking public ceremonies.
In 1991 aged 44, history was once again made. Marie won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The first ever woman to bag the prestigious prize.
In 1934, she lost her lab partner, her husband, and her friend. Pierre died after accidentally stepping in front of a horse-drawn wagon.
Marie founded the Curie Institute in Warsaw and in Paris which to this day remain outstanding centres of medical research. During World War One she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals, she herself stepped on the front line to save souls from giving up mortality.
In 1934 Marie was 66 when she died. The scientist died from aplastic anemia, thought to be due to her extended exposure to radiation.