Maria Sklodowska-Curie

Maria Sklodowska-Curie with her husband in chemical laboratory in Paris. Pierre Curie together with Madame Marie won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie, about two years after Becquerel's discovery, in 1897, was ready to do her doctoral thesis. She sought her husband's -- Pierre -- advice. He suggested that she undertake a study of the "new phenomenon" [radioactivity]. She developed ways to measure the phenomenon with greater precision. They discovered several new radioactive elements. They also developed ways to extract the radioactive substances from the samples she used. She and her husband worked in this field for the rest of their lives.

from Discovery of subatomic particles by S.Weinberg,
Scientific Amernican Books, 1983
Cover of Maria's book "Recherches sur les substances radioactives" [Investigations into radioactive substances] (1903). For that book she won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

Marie Curie's early research on radium led her to develop applications for radioactivity in medical therapy. Her dissertation on radioactive substances - based on research she did with her husband, Pierre Curie, and her mentor, Henri Becquerel - was published as this 1903 article in a French scientific journal. The first scientist to win the Nobel Prize twice (1903 and 1911), Madame Curie attained honors beyond the dreams of most women of her time. She inscribed this copy of her article "hommage de l'auteur" [gift of the author], in the top right-hand corner.

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Last Updated: 21 October 2007