Marie Curie (then Maria Sklodowska) was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867. She is well-known for the discovery of the elements Polonium and Radium. Marie Curie was the youngest of the five children of two Polish teachers who adored education. Marie lost her mother when she was just 10 years old.
Her interest in science and devotion to research helped her to win two Nobel Prizes, Davy Medal, Actonian Prize, and many other prestigious awards and degrees during her lifetime. Here are 15 inspiring and interesting facts about the renowned scientist Marie Curie.
Marie Curie Childhood Facts
1. Marie Curie’s childhood name was Maria Sklodowska. She changed her first name to Maria after she moved to France. She replaced her second name with Curie after marrying Pierre Curie.
2. Due to her gender, Marie Curie found it difficult to pursue higher education in her home country Poland, which prompted her to move to Paris in 1891. (Poland was then ruled by Russians).
Marie Curie Nobel Prize Facts
3. Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1903.
4. Marie Curie was the first person and still the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes.
5. Marie and Pierre Curie were the first married couple to be awarded the Nobel Prize.
6. Marie Curie was the first and remained the only person to grab Nobel Prizes in two different science fields (Physics and Chemistry).
Marie Curie Discovery and Invention
7. Henri Becquerel is the discoverer of radioactivity, but the term ‘radioactivity’ was suggested by Marie Curie.
8. Marie Curie inaugurated two major science institutes – one in Paris where she spent her scientific work life and the other in Warsaw where she was born and raised.
9. Marie Curie with the help of her 17-year-old daughter built mobile x-ray units that were used to treat wounded soldiers during World War I.
10. Marie Curie and Pierre Curie founded the element Radium and Polonium in a mineral called Pitchblende. Earlier, Uranium was also discovered from the same mineral.
Other Marie Curie Facts
11. The Curie (Ci) is the unit of radioactivity. It is named after Marie and Pierre Curie for their pioneer work on radioactivity.
12. The radioactive element Curium (Cm), atomic no. 96, was also named in honor of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie.
13. Marie Curie left Poland in pursuit of education but her love for the country persisted lifelong. She even named her discovered element Polonium after Poland and she also helped her daughters to learn Polish language.
14. In 1906, three years after receiving the Nobel Prize, Marie Curie's husband Pierre Curie died in an unfortunate street accident.
15. In 1934, at age 66, Marie Curie died from a disease called Aplastic anemia that might have been brought on by her continuous exposure to radiation.