Marie Curie was the first woman to be distinguished with a Nobel Prize. A true female pioneer in physics and chemistry who broke all gender barriers and prejudices of her time. Her discoveries led medicine into the modern era.
Why does Marie Curie deserve her own star?
We name a star for Marie Curie because she discovered pure Radium and Polonium and was a devoted physicist that developed the theory of radioactivity. She dedicated her life to investigation and teaching and her findings were involved in cancer treatments.
Registration Number 7858-63299-8028970
The life of Marie Curie
Marie Salomea Sklodowoska Curie was born on November 7, 1867 in Poland. She was the fifth child of the couple Bronislawa and Wladyslaw Sklodowsky, both teachers who lost their fortune and possessions in the Polish uprisings.
Her mother died when Marie was ten years old. She was sent to boarding school and graduated in 1883. Being women, she and her sister Bronislava could not continue their studies, but managed to enter the clandestine Floating University, which accepted women for higher education.
When she followed her sister to Paris to study at the University of Paris in 1881, she was naturalized in France. With money tight, she only managed to survive the Parisian winter by wearing all her clothes at once to keep her warm.
In July 1895 she married the French physicist Pierre Curie. Both were passionate about science and as a result started working together in a lab.
In the four years that followed, the Curies completed 32 scholarly publications. In one of them, they stated that tumor-forming cells that were exposed to radiation could be destroyed faster than healthy cells. Moreover, this seemed to be the beginning of the fight against cancer.
The Curies never patented their discoveries and as a result, although radium was used in new industries, they never received any monetary compensation for it. They worked and shared the 1903 Nobel Prize nomination for physics with Henri Becquerel. In 1905 they traveled to Stockholm to receive the award.
After her husband Pierre died in a tragic road accident on April 19, 1906, Marie nevertheless continued her research on her own. She received a nomination for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 and became the first person and woman to be awarded two Nobel Prizes.
Marie was involved in an affair with the young physicist Paul Langevin, which sparked a press scandal trying to prevent her from receiving her Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which the Nobel Committee was seeking. She bravely defended herself and explained that she would still be there and that her private life had nothing to do with her work and commitment.
A month later, she fell into a deep depression and was taken to the hospital, where she was also diagnosed with a kidney problem. After retiring from the public eye for over a year, she finally returned to her lab.
In 1920 she founded the Curie Institute in Paris and in 1932 another in Warsaw. Both schools are important centers of medical research to this day.
Her radioactive research helped develop the X-rays used in World War I to find bullets and shrapnel in the bodies of soldiers. It encouraged the establishment of radiological field hospitals near the battle lines and provided them with X-ray machines and mobile radiology units, the so-called “Little Curies”.
Marie Curie's last years
In a very momentous gesture, Marie tried to donate her gold Nobel Prize medals to help defray war costs, but the bank refused to accept them. She then used the prize money to buy bonds and contribute to the war as she pleased.
Marie continued to devote her life to medicine. She led the first treatments of neoplasms using radioactive isotopes. She named the first radioactive element after her homeland: polonium.
She died on July 4, 1934 in the town of Passy, France, at the age of 64 from aplastic anemia resulting from constant exposure to radiation during her studies and also while providing medical treatment to patients in the field hospitals.
In addition to her Nobel Prizes, she received other honors and awards throughout her life such as the Davy Medal (1903), Mateucci Medal (1904), Albert Medal (1909), Edinburgh University Cameron Prize for Therapeutics (1931) and more.
Naming a star after Marie Curie is undoubtedly something that must be done for someone who represents justice, hard work, dedication and love for humanity.
You can spot her registered star in the night sky from anywhere using the Star Finder App at registration number 7858-63299-8028970. It will serve as a reminder of her devoted soul.