Marie Sklodowska Curie:
The Woman Who Opened
The Nuclear Age
Marie Curie (18671934), is famous for her
work on radioactivity.
She was the first woman
to win a Nobel Prize, the
only woman to win in
two fields, and the only
person to win in multiple
sciences. She was also
the first woman to
become a professor at
the University of Paris.
• She was born in 1867 as Maria Salomea
Skłodowska in Warsaw, Poland.
• She had her early education and began
her practical scientific training in
• In 1891, she moved to Paris, and earned
her higher degrees and conducted her
subsequent scientific work in Paris.
• In 1895, she married Pierre Curie, a
• She and Pierre did extensive research on
the recently discovered phenomenon of
The discovery of
radioactivity by Henri
Becquerel in 1896
inspired the Curies in
analyses which led to
the isolation of
Polonium, named after
the country of Marie's
birth Poland, and
For the work they did
on radioactivity that
led to the discovery of
Radium, Marie and
Pierre Curie shared
the 1903 Nobel Prize
for Physics, jointly
with Henri Becquerel.
She was the first
woman ever to win a
• On 19 April 1906, Pierre Curie was killed in
a road accident when he was run over by a
• After Pierre died, Marie Curie was
appointed to take over the professorship at
Sorbonne and to lecture in Pierre’s place, the
first woman to become a Professor at the
• Marie Curie had been devastated by her
husband's death, but she accepted it hoping
to create a world-class laboratory as a tribute
Professor at Sorbonne
She was inspired by a
statement Pierre had
once made to her when
he was ill: “Whatever
happens, even if you
feel like a body that is
deprived of its soul, it
is our duty to continue
the work, despite
• Taking courage from her husband’s brave
words, Marie put her grief behind her and
continued her work on radioactivity.
• In 1910 Curie succeeded in gaining
insights into the nature of the atom and
finally, isolating Radium physically.
• She also defined an international standard
for radioactive emissions that was
eventually named after her and Pierre:
• She won an unprecedented second Nobel
Prize in 1911, in Chemistry, for her work
• She was the first person to win or share
two Nobel Prizes.
• Till today, she remains, alone with Linus
Pauling, the American Scientist, as Nobel
Laureates in two separate fields; and the
only woman in the list of multiple Nobel
In 1914, she set up the Radium Institute (now
known as the Curie Institute) in Paris, a
radioactivity laboratory created for her by the
Pasteur Institute and the University of Paris.
During World War I, Curie realized the need
for field radiological centres near the front
lines to assist battlefield surgeons, and
developed mobile radiography units.
In 1915 Curie produced hollow needles
containing 'radium emanation', to be used for
sterilizing infected tissue.
• After the War, she continued with her scientific
work, and also with setting up and establishing
the Radium Institute.
• She was honoured by several countries and
served on various International scientific
• Due to her long-term exposure to radiation
during her work, her health deteriorated, and
she died in 1934, due to Aplastic Anaemia
• Her first daughter Irene Joliot-Curie also won a
Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1935)- the first
mother & daughter Nobel Prize Laureates.
• She is regarded as one of the most influential
scientists of all time.