Friday, 8 November 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 6: Happy Birthday Marie Curie

 "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves."

It's no secret that I love Marie Curie. She's such an important and influential woman in the history of Science. As today is her birthday it feels only fitting that we celebrate her, so here is why she is so rad.

"I believe that Science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician; he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales."

Marie Curie despite graduating top of her class was not allowed to attend university in Poland due to being a woman. Instead she took classes at 'The Floating University" an underground college which allowed women to study. She worked and eventually saved to be able to move to Paris to attend La Sorbonne, where she got her masters in physics and then a degree in maths, despite being so poor she lived only on bread, butter and tea. In her research she discovered radiation which then changed the atomic physics theory, and then with her husband discovered the elements Radium and Polonium. In 1903 Marie was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize for her physics discoveries and the same year was the first woman to obtain a docterate in physics in Europe. After her husband's tragic death, she became the first ever female proffessor at La Sorbonne, taking over her husbands position. In 1913 she was awarded a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, it was the first and only time a person has ever won two prizes in separate scientific categories. During this time, she and her husband also raised two daughters, one of whom- Irene Curie- went on to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry herself. As Marie Curie was the one to discover radiation, no one had yet discovered the dangers of it, and though her discoveries then went on to save many lives of cancer patients, it was tragically the cause of her own death, since the danger wasn't known it is said that she used to carry a test tube of radium around with her in her pocket. She died in 1934 of aplastic anemia which is caused by extended exposure to radiation.

"I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries."

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