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9 facts you didn’t know about Marie Curie

We all agree that Marie Curie is one of the greatest scientists of all time and definitely the greatest female scientist of all time. After all, she is the only person to win two Nobel Prize in two scientific fields.

Let find out in our 10 things didn’t know about Marie Curie.

1: She got her education in secret.

Marie Curie was born and brought up in Russian-controlled Poland, where women were not allowed to study in higher education. So, Marie Curie had to attend a university in secret. Since she was attending a secret university, the location of her school keeps on changing to avoid detection.

2: Due to shortage of money, she occasionally fainted from hunger.

In 1891, Marie Curie moved to Paris to study physics, chemistry and mathematics. She studied during the day and gave tuition in the evening in order to support herself financially. With little money, she survived on buttered bread and tea, and occasionally she fainted from hunger.

3: Maria met Pierre curie because she was looking for larger laboratory space.

In 1894, Marie Curie was looking for larger laboratory space for research. Pierre curie had a large space in his lab. Marie was introduced to Pierre curie by a mutual acquaintance. After getting to know each other, both of them fell in love. However, Marie put her career first. She rejected his proposal for marriage 3 times. In the end, they got married in July 1895.

4: The Curies coined the word radioactivity.

In July 1898, Pierre and Marie discovered an element and named them, Polonium in honour of her native country Poland. In the same year, they also discovered another radioactive element and named them, Radium. The term, “Radioactivity” was used in their paper for the first time.

5: Initially, the Nobel prize committee didn’t want the award to be given to Marie as she was a woman.

Marie curie was awarded the Nobel prize in Physics in 1903. However, Marie was not in the list of awardees at first. The Nobel committee decided not to give the award to her since she was a woman. A committee member, who was also an advocate of women scientists inform Pierre Curie of the decision. Pierre complained and threatened that he would not accept the prize if Marie Curie was not included in the list. After the complaint, her name was included in the nomination.

6: She had an affair with a former student of Pierre Curie.

1911 was a year of drama and scandal. She won the Nobel prize in chemistry becoming the first person to win two Nobel Prize. She was rocked with a scandal. It was found out that Marie had an affair with a former student of Pierre curie. The press portrayed Marie as a foreign Jewish home-wrecker. Curie was in Belgium when the scandal broke and she found an angry mob in front of her house upon her return. 

7: Marie Curie died because of her work.

Marie curie died in 1934 of Aplastic anemia, likely due to so much radiation exposure from her work with radium. Marie’s notebooks is radioactive and will be for many years to come. Marie’s notebooks are still today stored in lead-lined boxes in France, as they were so contaminated with radium. For your information, Radium has a half-life of 1,600 years. Marie Curie kept a sample of radium next to her bed as a night light. She even used to carry radium samples in her lab coat pocket.

8: Letter by Albert Einstein.

When the scandal broke out, Marie was in Belgium attending the Solvay Conference. Marie was the only female attendant at the conference. She met Albert Einstein at the conference.

Albert Einstein was a fan of her work. When news broke out about how the press is treating Marie on her alleged affair, Einstein wrote a letter to Marie Curie as an encouragement. Einstein wrote.

9: Maria adopted the French spelling of her name “Marie.”

After moving to Paris, she changed her name, Maria to French, Marie.

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