Marie Curie is the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. His achievements also earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, making him the first scientist in Nobel history to be awarded twice. Moreover, while achieving these successes, he also struggled with the male-dominated world of science. Who is Marie Curie aka Madam Curie, who still illuminates the path of women scientists who came after her? What did he do?
Marie Curie, who we know as a French scientist, was born on November 7, 1867 in Poland as Maria Skolodowska. His father, Wladislaw Sklodowski, was a high school physics and mathematics teacher. His mother, Bronislawa Sklodowski, was the director of a boarding school. When Curie was only 10 years old, his mother died of tuberculosis.
With the influence of her father, Marie became very interested in science. But in those years, in Poland under the rule of Tsarist Russia, girls were not allowed to receive education in scientific fields. Both Curie and her sister, Bronya, wanted very much to go abroad to get a diploma. However, they did not have the money necessary for school. Curie made a deal with her sister. He worked to support Bronya's school and gave it back by working after completing his education. Finally, in 1891, at the age of 24, Curie went to Paris and began his studies at the Sorbonne University. He devoted himself to scientific work. However, he had a difficult time economically. Despite all the difficulties, he successfully graduated from Physics in 1893 and Mathematics in 1894.
Discovery of Polonium and Radium
Pierre Curie, 35, French Physicist Pierre Curie was head of the laboratory of the School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry. With the contribution of their common scientific interests, Marie and Pierre bonded and got married on July 26, 1895. From this date on, she took the name Marie Curie.
Curie chose "Becquerel radiation" as his doctoral subject. He determined that the element thorium emits the same rays as uranium and gave this radiation a name: Radioactivity. He discovered a new radioactive substance with similar properties by testing the ores. He named this new element “polonium” after being inspired by Poland.
Towards their daughter Irene in 1897. The living and working conditions of the couple were not good during these years. They did not have a suitable laboratory to carry out their research. They made their discovery in an unheated and unventilated shed in the garden of the high school where Pierre was a faculty member.
He discovered polonium and radium in 1898. In April 1898, he reported this to the French Academy of Sciences in a note bearing his sole signature. However, according to the dominant scientific understanding of the period, it was not considered normal for a woman who was only a doctoral student to send such a note without the signature of her father or husband.
The discovery of radium in 1902 brought great fame to the Curies. This was because it was understood that it could be used for the treatment of cancer in medicine and of course its commercial dimension. But they were not interested in monetizing their discoveries.
FIRST WOMAN TO WIN A NOBEL PRIZE
The 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Henry Becquerel and Pierre Curie. A Swedish colleague of Pierre's reported this to Pierre. According to the Nobel archives, Pierre protested and said that Marie should also receive the award. The Nobel committee accepted this and received the award together with Henri Becquerel, Pierre Curie and Marie Curie. Thus, Marie became the first woman to win the Nobel.
Pierre Curie died in an accident in Paris in 1906. After Pierre's death, Curie was offered a post at the Sorbonne University. Thus, for the first time in France, a woman was given the title of professor.
Curie, who devoted himself entirely to scientific studies, succeeded in obtaining radium as a pure metal. This success earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911. He became the first scientist in Nobel history to be awarded twice.
He also struggled with the male-dominated structure of the scientific world. The all-male French Academy of Sciences rejected its membership by one vote. It was claimed that there was a relationship between Paul Langevin, a close friend of Pierre Curie, and even his second Nobel Prize was thrown into the background.
Curie traveled to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in December 1911. In his speech here, he also stated that he did not underestimate Pierre Curie's help and announced that the hypothesis that radioactivity is a property of the atom was his own work.
In 1914, the Radium Institute was established at the University of Paris, and Curie was appointed its first director. Throughout his life, he drew attention to the importance of radium in medicine. During World War I, she made portable x-ray machines and taught x-ray technology to young women with her daughter Irene. He also showed physical therapists how to use radiology equipment in a combat environment. During this time, he was exposed to high doses of radioactive rays.
He continued his contribution to science in the 1920s. He played a role in founding the Radium Institute in Warsaw.
📩 02/07/2021 22:03