Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Michael from , . Michael Wonders, “what did marie curie invent” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Michael !
If so, don't lose heart. You actually have a lot in common with the most famous female scientist of all time. Who are we talking about? Marie Curie, of course!
In 1867, Maria Sklodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland. She was a bright and curious child who excelled in school. Unfortunately, women were not allowed to attend the University of Warsaw back then. Instead, she had to pursue learning in informal classes held in secret.
In 1891, the woman the world would come to know as Marie Curie made her way to Paris, where she enrolled at the Sorbonne. Over the next few years, she completed advanced degrees in physics and mathematics. She also met and married French physicist, Pierre Curie.
Marie and Pierre would work closely together over the course of their life together. Marie's groundbreaking discoveries came from studying uranium rays. She believed these rays came from the atomic structure of uranium. Her insights led to the development of the field of atomic physics, and she created the term "radioactivity" to describe the phenomena she had observed.
Marie and Pierre worked extensively with a mineral known as pitchblende. By conducting experiments, they were able to discover a new radioactive element that Marie called polonium in honor of her native Poland. They later also discovered another new radioactive element that they called radium.
Marie's work was rewarded in 1903, when she became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in physics. After Pierre's death in 1906, Marie took over his teaching job at the Sorbonne, becoming the first female professor at the institution.
In 1911, Marie became the first scientist — male or female — to win a second Nobel Prize, this time in the field of chemistry. Her scientific reputation was known around the world. In fact, she was invited to join other famous scientists of the day, including Albert Einstein, to attend the Solvay Congress in Physics.
After World War I broke out a few years later, Marie applied her scientific knowledge to practical humanitarian concerns. She helped to develop the use of portable X-ray machines in the field. In fact, the medical vehicles that carried these machines became known as "Little Curies."
Despite all of her research, Marie never fully understood the toll her work with radioactive materials took on her health. She died in France in 1934 from advanced leukemia related to prolonged exposure to radiation.
Marie Curie left a great legacy of accomplishment and scientific curiosity. Her daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, followed in her footsteps, receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1935.
In 1995, the remains of Marie and Pierre Curie were placed in the Panthéon in Paris, which is known as the final resting place of France's most distinguished citizens. Marie Curie was the first and only woman to be interred there.