Marie Curie: Facts About the Famous Scientist

Here are some facts about Marie Curie.

  • Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and is best known for her important research on radioactivity.
  • She was born in Poland in 1867, and studied science in Warsaw and Paris. She tutored in the evenings to earn extra money, but sometimes she didn’t earn enough money. Apparently, she once fainted from hunger.
  • Marie married Pierre Curie, a physics and chemistry teacher, in 1895. During the late 1890s, much of Marie’s research was carried out in a converted shed next to a college in Paris.
  • In 1898, Marie Curie and her husband discovered the element radium. The Curies discovered that radium could be used to destroy diseased cells in the body.
  • Curie and her husband succeeded in isolating radium as an element in 1904. She also invented the word ‘radioactive’ and devised an international measurement for radioactive emissions.

Marie Curie

  • During World War I, Marie Curie established France’s first military radiology centre. She treated over a million wounded soldiers with portable X-rays, and was made director of radiology at the Red Cross.
  • During her lifetime, Curie didn’t know how dangerous radiation exposure was. She often had radioactive materials in her home or laboratory, and even used a sample as a nightlight.
  • Curie died in 1934, from complications caused by prolonged exposure to radiation. Her remains are in the Pantheon in Paris, along with her husband’s, and she is one of the few women to be buried there.


  • Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 and in chemistry in 1911. Several scientific institutions and schools are named after her, as well as a nuclear reactor and a Paris metro station.
  • In 1944, the 96th element on the periodic table was discovered, and named Curium.
  • Marie Curie has been voted the most inspirational woman in the scientific world.

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