Maria Skłodowska was born in Poland 150 years ago. An excellent pupil, she was very young when she felt a vocation to put her life at the service of science, but scientific studies were not available to young girls in the Russian Empire. She had to… Read more wait till she was 25 to come and study physics at the science faculty in Paris, where she met another student and married him, Pierre Curie. In 1897, she began working on her doctoral thesis, on uranium rays. Soon, Pierre joined her research. In 1903, they received the Nobel Physics prize together. In 1906, Pierre died in an accident. Supported by his family, Marie became the first woman in France to direct a university laboratory, then the first woman professor at the Sorbonne. In 1911, she received the Nobel Chemistry prize for her research on radium and polonium.
In 1914, the Institut du radium opened, devoted to medical research against cancer and radiotherapy treatments. Marie directed the physics and chemistry lab. But WW1 interrupted her research; she went to the front line to make X-rays. In November 1918, Marie was finally able to take up her post at the Institut du radium. But by now, she was suffering from excessive exposition to radioactive elements. She died of leukaemia in 1934.
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