Madam Curie

Marie Curie

Physicist

Marie Skłodowska Curie, a Polish-French physicist and chemist, was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the only woman to receive two Nobel prizes. While studying uranium’s rays, she discovered new elements and named them polonium and radium. She also coined the term “radio-active” to describe them. In 1903, Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics for her research of radiation phenomena. She was also the first woman in France to attain a PhD in Physics, and the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne. In 1911, she won a second Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of polonium and radium. During World War I, she established mobile radiology units to help doctors treat over a million wounded soldiers. Curie’s pioneering work in radiation led to new cancer treatments.

Learn more at Smithsonian Magazine

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