Born | , (1867-11-07)
Died | , (aged )
Nationality | ,
Field | and
Alma | and
Notable | (1903)
The only person to win two in different science fields. Married (1895); their children were and .
Maria Skіodowska-Curie (born Maria Skіodowska; , – , ) was a and of upbringing and, subsequently, citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of , the first twice-honored (and still the only one in two different sciences) and the first female professor at the .
She was born in , , , and lived there until she was 24. In 1891 she followed her elder sister to study in , where she obtained her higher degrees and conducted her scientific work. She founded the in Paris and Warsaw. She was the wife of fellow-Nobel-laureate and the mother of a third Nobel laureate, .
While an actively loyal French citizen, she never lost her sense of Polish identity and named the first that she discovered for her native country.
Maria Skіodowska's birthplace on ulica Freta (Freta Street) in 's "."
Maria Skіodowska was born in to , Bronisіawa and Wіadysіaw Skіodowski, both of whom were teachers and instilled in their children a sense of the value of learning.
Maria was the youngest of five children: Zofia (born 1862), Jуzef (1863), Bronisіawa (1865), Helena (1866) and finally Maria (1867).
Maria's early years were marked by the death of her sister Zofia (from ) and, two years later, the death of her mother (). These events caused her to give up her Roman Catholic religion and become an .
In her youth Skіodowska showed an exceptional memory and diligent , and was known to neglect food and even sleep in order to study. At age fifteen she graduated from at the top of her class.
, near 's . At a lab here, Maria Skіodowska did her first scientific work (1890-91).
Because she was female, and because of reprisals following the Polish against , Skіodowska was denied admission to a regular university. She worked several years as a private tutor while attending 's illegal and helped support her elder sister Bronisіawa, who was studying medicine in . Eventually in 1891, having saved up money earned as a , Maria went to join her elder sister in .
Skіodowska studied , and at the . (Later, in 1909, she would become that University's first female professor, when she was named to her late husband's chair in physics, which he had held for only a year and a half before his tragic death.) In early 1893 she graduated first in her undergraduate class. A year later, also at the University of Paris, she obtained her in mathematics. In 1903, under the supervision of , she received her from the , becoming the first woman in France to complete a doctorate.
At the University of Paris, she met and married . At the time, Pierre Curie was an instructor in the School of Physics and Chemistry (). Skіodowska was a student at the , and had begun her scientific career in Paris with an investigation of the magnetic properties of various steels; it was their mutual interest in that drew Skіodowska and Curie together.
and Marie Curie in their Paris lab before 1907 (he died in 1906).
Eventually they studied materials, particularly — the from which was extracted — which had the curious property of being more radioactive than the uranium extracted from it. By April 1898 Skіodowska-Curie deduced that pitchblende must contain traces of an unknown substance far more radioactive than uranium. In July 1898 Pierre and Marie together published an article announcing the existence of an element which they named , in honor of Skіodowska-Curie's native country Poland, then still partitioned among three empires. On , , the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named , for its intense — a word that they coined.
Over the course of several years' unceasing work in the most difficult physical conditions, they processed several tons of , progressively concentrating the radioactive substances and eventually isolating the chloride salts (refining on , ).