Maria Salomea (Marie) Skłodowska-Curie
(Warschau 7 november 1867 – Passy, 4 juli 1934)

Over Marie Curie: Pools-Frans schei- en natuurkundige. Zij was een pionier op het gebied van de radioactiviteit, ontving twee Nobelprijzen en ontdekte de elementen polonium en radium. In haar tweede vaderland Frankrijk is ze bekend als Marie Curie en ze wordt vaak aangeduid als Madame Curie, wat ook de titel is van haar biografie geschreven door haar dochter Ève.

Samen met haar man ontving Marie Curie in 1903 de Nobelprijs voor de Natuurkunde, “als erkenning voor de buitengewone diensten die zij hebben bewezen door hun gezamenlijke onderzoek naar de stralingsverschijnselen ontdekt door professor Henri Becquerel”. Hiermee was ze de eerste vrouw die een Nobelprijs in ontvangst mocht nemen. Door de zwakke gezondheidstoestand van Marie konden Marie en Pierre de prijs niet persoonlijk in ontvangst nemen.

Acht jaar later ontving Marie opnieuw een Nobelprijs, deze keer de Nobelprijs voor de Scheikunde, “als erkenning voor haar diensten ter bevordering van de scheikunde door de ontdekking van de elementen radium en polonium, door de isolatie van radium en de studie van de aard en samenstelling van dit opmerkelijke element”.

Zij is daarmee een van de vier mensen die ooit twee Nobelprijzen hebben gewonnen (de anderen waren Linus Pauling, John Bardeen en Frederick Sanger) en één van twee mensen die Nobelprijzen in twee disciplines won (Linus Pauling was de andere).

About Marie Curie:
Marie Skłodowska Curie ( 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934), born Maria Salomea Skłodowska was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

She was born in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. She studied at Warsaw’s clandestine Floating University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined, techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland.She named the first chemical element that she discovered‍—‌polonium, which she isolated in 1898‍—‌after her native country.

Curie died in 1934, aged 66, at a sanatorium in Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation while carrying test tubes of radium in her pockets during research, and in the course of her service in World War I mobile X-ray units that she had set up.

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  • Scheikundige en natuurkundige