Marie Curie – Only Woman to Receive Two Nobel Prizes
Maria Skłodowska-Curie was a well-known physicist and chemist of Polish origin. She spent most of her life in France, and there she began her scientific career. She has done research in chemistry and physics. She was the wife is Pierre Curie, and the mother is Eve Curie and Irena Joliot-Curie.
Her greatest achievements include: work on the theory of radioactivity, techniques of separation of radioactive isotopes and the discovery of two new chemical elements – radium and polonium. Under her personal control, the world’s first research on the possibility of curing cancer through radioactivity was carried out. She is one of the founders of the new branch of chemistry – radiochemistry.
She is twice the winner of the Nobel Prize, for the first time in 1903, along with her husband Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel for scientific achievements in radioactivity testing, and the second time in 1911 for chemistry, for extracting elemental radon. She remains the only woman to receive the Nobel Prize twice.
Marie was born as a fifth child in the teaching family. Her grandfather Joseph Sklodowski was a famous pedagogue. Father, Vladislav Sklodowski was a teacher of mathematics and physics, as well as director of two Warsaw high schools. Her mother suffered from tuberculosis and died when Marie was 12 years old.
After completing the gymnasium, she spent a year in a village in the Vlastaoska, and then, at her father’s house in Warsaw, where she occasionally worked for private classes.
Then she and her older sister, Bronislawa made an agreement to financially assist he during her medical studies in Paris, in exchange for her sister to start financially assist Marie in the same way for two years. Due to an arrangement with her sister Marie found a job as a governor in a wealthy family from Krakow, where she remained for two years. While working in this family, she fell in love with Kazimierz Zorawski, a future well-known mathematician. However, Kazimierz’s parents rejected the possibility of marrying Kazimierz with the poor Marie, so she was fired from work. Marie found a job in another family, where she spent another year, continually assisting her sister Bronislawa.
At the beginning of 1890, Bronislawa, who married in Paris, invited Maria to come to her. However, Maria still counted on her marriage to Kazimierz, whom she met in Warsaw. Because of this, she declined the offer and returned to her father where she remained until 1891. In October of that year, after a sister’s insistence and breakup of the relationship with Kazimierz, she decided to leave for France.
In 1891, in Paris, Marie enrolled at the Department of Physics and Chemistry at Sorbonne. During the day she studied and worked at night giving private lessons. In 1893 she graduated as the first in the generation and was employed as a laborer in the industrial laboratory in Lippman’s facilities.
In 1894, Marie also met her future husband, French Pierre Curie, who was at the time on doctoral studies at Becquerel’s Laboratory. When Pierre received his doctorate in 1895, Marie married him.
Pierre recommended Marie to Becquerel, who then proposed her doctoral studies under his supervision. Becquerel suggested that she investigate why the radioactivity of some types of uranium ore is much higher than the radioactivity of pure uranium.
Marie, first with the help of a young chemist André-Louis Debierne, began to unload uranium ore into individual chemical compounds and sought a compound that provoked high radioactivity of this ore. Later, Pierre joined the work. These studies, after four years, led to the discovery of polonium, and then to a much radioactive radius. These tests resulted in an explanation of the occurrence of radioactivity as the effect of atomic nucleus decay. In 1903, Mary became the first woman in history to receive the title of Doctor of Physics. That same year she received the Nobel Prize.
When they received the Nobel Prize, Mary and Pierre were suddenly famous. Pierre became a professor at Sorbonne, and he was given permission to open his laboratory where the head of the study was Mary.
Pierre died on April 19, 1906. On May 13, Mary received the position of her deceased husband. In this way, Maria became the first female professor at Sorbonne. In 1911 she voted for her admission to the French Academy of Sciences but was not received.