So most of us know Marie Curie as a physicist and chemist who pioneered research on radioactivity; frankly, just an all-around bad girl in the best possible way. But there is always so much we don’t learn about the most intelligent, ground-breaking, influential minds, and typically the things we don’t learn are the most interesting. Let’s get into it!
(image via: lit hub)
It was actually really difficult for Marie Curie to further her education. After obtaining her high-school diploma she dreamed of going to the University of Warsaw with her sister, but unfortunately, the school did not accept women, so both girls ended up enrolling at Flying University, a Polish school that did in fact, welcome female students; however, it was illegal, across the board, at the time for females to receive higher education so the school had to constantly change its location. So finally in 1891 Marie moved to Paris to be with her sister and enrolled at the Sorbonne to officially begin her college career.
Curie won exactly two Nobel Prizes in her very non-fancy lab. Curie won her first Nobel prize in physics with her husband, then won another for her isolation of radium, and she conducted the bulk of these experiments in what was described by chemist Wilheim Ostwald as “a cross between a stable and a potato shed.”
Speaking of winning two Nobel Prizes in two different sciences, Marie Curie is the only person to do this.
(image via: live science)
Marie Curie’s husband died in 1906, and following his death Marie was appointed to his seat at Sorbonne, making her the first female professor at the university. This was very fitting because just three years prior, Curie was the first female to obtain her doctorate.
Have you ever had to memorize every element in the periodic table of elements and cursed the scientists that created it? Well, you can thank Curie for two of the elements: radium and polonium.
Curie’s remains are now at the Pantheon in Paris. The Pantheon is a mausoleum reserved for the most intellectual French thinkers, and Curie was the second woman to receive this honor.
Of course, Marie Curie suffered some health issues working with all of that radium and polonium; but something you may not know is that her notebooks are still quite radioactive. In fact, they’re currently being stored in lead-lined boxes and they will remain radioactive for the next 1,500 years.