Marie Curie - First Woman To Win Nobel Prize

To date, there are around 60 women who have won the Nobel Prize in various fields. Compared to women, there have been around more than 873 men who are Nobel laureates. The credit goes to Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and pave the way for women. In 1903, Marie won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

She was also the first woman in France to have gotten a PhD in Physics. In fact, the most interesting part is that she even had a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Impressive, isn’t it? So, today let’s learn about this extraordinary woman and some facts about her.

Know Marie Curie

Regarding the Nobel prize and record-setting, one name that comes into everyone’s mouth is Marie Curie. She shares the Nobel prize with her husband, Pierre, for their work on radioactivity. In fact, one surprising fact is that she is not the only Nobel prize recipient in her family; four of her family members are also Nobel laureates.

Early life And Education

Marie Curie had a remarkable memory from her childhood. Her father lost his savings, and Marie had to work as a teacher. Her childhood was not lavish, but she worked hard. When she turned 18, she took a job as a governess, and whatever she earned, she helped her sister complete her medical studies.

The First Nobel Prize

In 1891 she went to Paris and was inspired by the lectures of Paul Appell, Edmond Bouty and Gabriel Lippman. She studied hard, day and night, and do you know what her meals were? Well, she lived on tea, butter and bread! Her hard work paid off, and she came first in the license of physical sciences. In 1894, she met Pierre Curie.

Marie and Pierre Curie
Marie and Pierre Curie

They got married and started working together; their work will soon bear fruitful results. Marie started working on minerals, and Pierre soon joined her work. She found that pitchblende, which is a mineral, has a superior activity to that of uranium. However, this superiority can only be explained in the presence of ore of an unknown substance. Pierre and Marie worked together, discovering new elements, radium and polonium. Due to their discovery, Marie got her doctorate, and Pierre was awarded the Davy Medal. And in 1903, they shared a Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie First Nobel Prize
Marie Curie and Pierre Curie First Nobel Prize

Second Nobel Prize

Pierre passed away in 1906, which was a huge blow to Marie, but she didn’t let this tragedy stop her. In fact, it was a turning point in her life. She devoted all her time and energy to completing the work they both had undertaken. And due to her sheer dedication and work, she was awarded the second Nobel Prize in 1922 for chemistry.

Later Work

Later in life, she travelled to the USA, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Spain to lecture and inspire women. The Council of the League of Nations made her a member of the International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.

Marie Curie had several achievements; however, one of the major achievements was that she understood the need to accumulate intense radioactive sources. It can help treat illness, and there will be a good supply of resources for research. However, Marie developed aplastic anaemia, which was caused due to radiation. She died doing what she loved the most.

One cannot deny her contribution to the field of physics. Well, that is demonstrated by her two Nobel prizes, but another vital factor is that her contribution has inspired the coming generation of chemists and nuclear physicists.

Marie Curie in laboratory
Marie Curie in laboratory

One interesting fact is that Marie Curie notebooks are still radioactive. They’re stored in lead-lined boxes, and they will be there for at least 1500 years to come. Want to know more fun facts about Marie Curie? Check out below!

Interesting Facts About Marie Curie

After knowing about Marie Curie, it is time to take a look at some of the fun and interesting facts that you might not be aware of:

Her Lab Was Not Fancy

One might wonder that since Marie Curie won the Nobel prize, she must have had a huge fancy lab, but that is untrue. In fact, when she saw a laboratory, she thought it was a practical joke! When she and her husband started their experiment, they required huge space, so do you know where they operated? Well, work out of an old shed!

She Was A Hero

Yes, there is no doubt that she is to millions of women; however, she is actually a world war one hero. She saved the lives of several soldiers. She developed mobile radiology units, and the army doctor used these units. With the help of these units, the doctor can easily perform an X-ray on the wounded soldiers.

She Was The First Female Professor At Sorbonne University

Marie Curie was first at many things. She was the first woman to win two Nobel prizes, and she was the first female professor at Sorbonne University. In 1906, she was appointed at her husbands’ place at Sorbonne.

Albert Einstein Was Her Fan

Well, one legend was a fan of another legend. After her husband passed away, Marie faced a lot of sexism in the industry. At that time, Albert Einstein penned a letter to Marie to uplift her spirits.

Summing Up

If you look at scientific history, you can see women who have made significant contributions in different fields have been sidelined. It has been a tough journey for women to get recognized and rewards such as prestigious prizes like the Nobel. However, when there is such a form of systematic discrimination, exceptions give hope and show a path to others. One such exception was Marie Curie. She breaks all the barriers and achieves a renowned award in her field. And do not forget, she did not win one, but two awards. She is an inspiration to all women to chase their dreams!


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