38 Interesting Facts About Marie Curie

Last updated on November 14th, 2017

About Marie Curie’s use of X-ray units during WWI, the French honor, cause of death and more…

#21. Marie Curie created X-ray units that were helpful in treating more than a million soldiers in World War I. She established X-ray booths and also operated mobile X-ray units. The units were known as petite curies (“little curies”).

#22. Marie Curie received a stipend from the French government after the 25th anniversary of the discovery of radium. She stopped using the stipend once other forms of financial assistance became available to her.

#23. Marie Curie’s daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, jointly with her husband.

#24. Money was not something that mattered a lot in the life of the couple. They just needed it to meet their needs. They also decided not to patent the radium-isolation process for the sake of the scientific community.

#25. The duo often refused awards and medals.

#26. Marie was so selfless that Einstein said about her that she probably was the only person whom fame and money could not corrupt.

#27. In 1898, the Curie couple, after discovering radium, did not pursue the patent for the extraction process. Soon, radium became the center of attraction for many traders and industrialists, and the cost of a single gram of the glowing green material reached $100,000. Surprisingly, Marie Curie could not afford to buy the material for further research, which she herself had discovered.

#28. Entitled “Pierre Curie,” Marie Curie wrote her husband’s biography.

#29. Despite her many important contributions to physics, for which the Curies received the Nobel Prize in 1903, her name was not nominated on the list, initially. Partly because no women had won a Nobel Prize prior to that, the committee for the Nobel Prize was reluctant to give one to Marie Curie. However, when Pierre became aware of the situation, he requested that the committee include his spouse’s name.

#30. Another surprising fact that gives us an insight into Marie’s character and thinking is that she tried to sell her Nobel Prize gold medals to contribute toward World War I efforts. However, the French National Bank refused to accept the medals.

#31. Marie Curie was offered the most distinguished French honor, The Legion of Honor (Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur), which she politely refused. France’s premier award was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize eminent accomplishments of people in service to France.

#32. Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia, which can be caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.

Facts about Madame Marie Curie and her association with the Nobel Prize

#33. She was the first woman to ever be awarded a Nobel Prize.

#34. She is also the first person in history to have won Nobel Prizes in two different sciences (Physics-1903 and Chemistry-1911.) The only other person is Linus Pauling. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954, and in Peace in 1962.

#35. She and her daughter Irene are the only mother-daughter pair to have both won a Nobel Prize.

#36. She is the only person to have won Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry.

#37. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and also the first woman to receive a PhD from a French university.

#38. On May 20, 1921, US President Warren G. Harding received her at the White House to present her with one gram of radium collected in the United States. The funds to buy the one gram of radium, the cost of which was $100,000, was collected over a period of one year from American women.

In her honor

The UN declared 2011 as the “International Year of Chemistry,” while Poland and France declared it as the “Year of Marie Curie.”

In a poll in 2009, Marie Curie was voted “the most inspirational woman in science.”

Famous quotes by Marie Curie

  • “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.”
  • “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
  • “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 attained.”
  • “All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.”
  • “I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”
  • “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”
  • “A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.”
  • “I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.”

Marie Curie – Quick facts

Born7 November 1867
Warsaw, Kingdom of Poland, then part of Russian Empire
Died4 July 1934
Passy, Haute-Savoie, France
NationalityPoland (by birth)
France (by marriage)
Languages KnownEnglish, Polish and French
Age At the time of death66 years
Field of WorkPhysics, chemistry
BooksPierre Curie: With Autobiographical Notes by Marie Curie, Radioactive Substances, Marie Curie's Search For Radium
NicknameManya
ContributionsScience and Physics
EducationUniversity of Paris
Flying University
ParentsWladyslaw Sklodowski
Bronislawa Sklodowska

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