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A Woman of Wonder-Marie Curie

Anamika Karthik Wednesday, December 29, 2021
A Woman of Wonder-Marie Curie

Free curiosity is of greater value than harsh discipline, this is a truly marvelous statement I have come to find fascinating. Marie Sklodowska Curie who I admire, was one who truly believed in it as well, so lets take a look at her beautiful story.

While most of us know her as just Marie Curie, she was the first ever woman to win the Nobel prize and also the first person in history to win the award twice in two different categories, them being physics and chemistry because of her works on radioactivity.

Born on November 7 1867, in Warsaw, young Marie was a brilliant student growing up. And just as the little girl deserved, she was praised by everyone around her! But here comes the problem; being a woman, she didn’t have the freedom to pursue her education there due to the beliefs in her homeland at the time. So she moved to France and gained a degree in physics and mathematics at the reputed Sorbonne university. Later in Paris she met fellow physicist Pierre Curie whom she soon got married to. The pair started their scientific journey from then on.

What piqued her interest at first was physicist Henri Becquerel’s work on uranium during which he found out the presence of certain radiation emitted by the element.

The curies together worked in the field for quite a while after which in 1898, they uncovered their discovery of two new elements, Radium (named after the Latin word for ray) and Polonium (relating to Marie’s home country, Poland). Soon after Pierre was nominated for the Nobel Prize, he noticed how they had overlooked Marie and convinced them to recognize her major role in their works. We mustn’t just note how Marie achieved the award herself but at the bond between her and Pierre and how he was ready to put his own status at jeopardy by opposing the most accepted beliefs. Pierre was absolutely selfless and had a mind that was too mature and modern for the past he lived in.

As fate would have it, both Pierre and Marie won the award alongside Henri Becquerel in 1903 for physics.

Alas, tragedy struck 1906 when dear Pierre was killed by a horse-wagon in an accident. Although she grieved at the death of her beloved, Marie kept her research alive. She gained the fruit of her sacrifices when she once again won the Nobel prize in chemistry for her earlier discovery of the 2 new elements. This made set her down in history as the first person to ever earn two Nobel prizes. Later, she played a major role in world war one, organizing portable x-ray machines she nicknames “little Curies” to help victims of war while also studying the effect of radiation on tumors.

Ironically, Marie Curie is speculated to have died due to her prolonged exposure to radiation. Although on the positive side, she had died doing something she loved and enjoyed. Thence, Marie Curie is an example to all of us to break free of the chains of unfair social setups and reach for the stars. I would like to end by stating the famous quote “The key to success is to focus on the goal not the obstacles ahead”. So let us all take the lessons Marie learnt in her life and try to make our own worthwhile.

Anamika Karthik
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