The first person to win two Nobel prizes.
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) lost her mother and eldest sister to typhus when she was just 10 years old.
Her father was a teacher, and imbued all his children with a love of learning.
Marie graduated high school at 15 with highest honors. Knowing they had to travel west from their native Poland to find universities that would accept them, Marie and her older sister Bronya made a pact.
► Marie worked as a governess for three years to help cover the costs of Bronya’s studies as a medical student in Paris. Once established, Bronya would help Marie pay for her university education.
Marie taught her charges, and also the children of the Polish peasant workers in the village, although that was illegal.
⚗️ Marie also found a chemist in a nearby beet sugar factory who was also willing to risk arrest to teach her. Marie followed Bronya to Paris, and with little money past tuition she completed her degree in physics and math in three years.
🎓Marie Curie’s curiosity led her to two masters degrees in Physics and Math, a PhD in Physics, and two Nobel Prizes.
⭐️The first (with her husband Pierre Curie) was in Physics, for the discoveries of Polonium and Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) is certainly not the last woman to be asked how she managed her career and her family.
It seems we, as women, will have to answer this question forever.
►And the answer is as unique women are – every single woman figures out how to balance a career and a family in the way that works for her.
🔬For Marie, the solution was to marry a scientist, Pierre Curie, who shared in her work.
Marie’s daughter Irene was also a scientist, and followed her mother’s path by also marrying a scientist.
Marie’s family holds more Nobel prizes than any other family in history.
📍11/7/1867 Warsaw Poland – 7/4/1934 France
Polish, worked as a governess to fund sister’s education, radiant, discovered Polonium and Radium, won 2 Nobel Prizes in different disciplines, coined word radioactive, research materials still kept in lead lined cases – still radioactive.
Source: Women in Science
- First woman to win a Nobel Prize, Physics, with her husband Pierre Curie
- Second Noble in Chemistry – only woman to win 2 Nobles.
- Got 2 masters degrees, first in Physics, second in math.
- Also got a PhD First and only woman entombed in France’s national mausoleum, the Pantheon
- Died of a rare blood disease in her 60’s, caused by exposure to excessive radiation – at the time no one knew radioactive elements could be deadly.
Source: Fight Like A Girl by Laura Barcella
In their words:
“Not only did she do outstanding work in her lifetime and not only did she help humanity greatly by her work, but she invested all of her work with the highest moral quality. All of this she accomplished with great strength, objectivity, and judgement. It is very rare to find all these qualities in one individual.” – A. Einstein
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”
“I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy.”
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be obtained.”
“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”