01 September 2021
Isolating Polonium Marie Curie was born on November 7, 1867, as the youngest of five children. In 1891, Curie moved to France and lodged with her sister while studying physics and math at Sorbonne University in Paris. She met her future husband, Pierre Curie, in 1894 and married him a year later; both the Curies then began work trying to uncover the mysteries of physics’ most mind-boggling particles. The Curies worked at the School of Chemistry and Physics in Paris and began researching the invisible rays given off by an element called uranium. Marie Curie collected samples of a mineral called pitchblende and discovered it gave off more rays than did uranium alone. She hypothesized that pitchblende was made of more than just uranium, and began trying to separate its different contents. Eventually, she and her husband were able to isolate a new element called polonium: one that was 330 times more radioactive than uranium. First Woman to Win the Nobel Peace Prize in Physics Marie Curie died in 1934 due to a medical condition developed after years of radiation exposure at age 66—but not before leaving a significant impact on the science world. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics, and the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes: one in physics, and another for chemistry in 1911. She made large strides in the fields of science as a smart, talented, and powerful woman.