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Biography And Scientific Contribution Of Marie Curie

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Marie Curie, originally named Maria Salomea Skłodowska, was born on November 7, 1897 in Warsaw, Poland, where she would be raised until moving to Paris for further education. Marie grew up living under the Russian control of Poland; and at just 11 years old, she had lost her mother and sister. This prompted her to throw herself into her studies.

As she grew up and finished their required school (our equivalent to high school), she decided she wanted to further her education. However, under the Russian control of Poland, women were not allowed to further their education. After saving up money by working in Warsaw for several years, Marie moved to Paris, where she would go to a school called Sorbonne’s School of Sciences. Studying in this school for several years, Marie received a master’s degree in physics along with a master’s degree in mathematics. She was immediately hired to work in a laboratory, where she would meet her soon-to-be husband, Pierre Curie.

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Marie worked with Pierre for several years before they married, and in this time they both worked to isolate radioactive particles in what they suspected was a new element–radium. This was in fact a new element that they discovered through countless hours spent trying to isolate the radioactive particles in a mixture of pitchblende. Receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery, Marie and Pierre did not stop their research there. They had two children before Pierre died by getting hit by a carriage going down the road. Widowed at 38, Marie continued her research which led to the creation of one of the most important medical discoveries of the time, X-Rays.

Marie won a second Nobel Prize, and soon opened several buildings dedicated to research of radium and the benefits of it. She discovered that the radiation can be used not only to make X-Rays that can see shrapnel and bone fractures inside one’s body, but it can also be used to shrink and kill cancer cells. When World War I began in France, Marie worked hard both on and off the battlefield to provide X-Rays to those in need. These X-Rays helped save and care for over 1 million French soldiers, installing the idea of a hero to Marie’s name. X-Rays and cancer treatment would soon prove to be two of the most important discoveries in the healthcare field that are still used today. Marie also serves as a role model for young women seeking to something many believe to be “a man’s job” as she proves that women are equal to men.

If Marie and Pierre had not discovered radium, it would have caused several ripple effects in the timeline of healthcare. We do not know when or if radium would be discovered by now, and if it hadn’t, we would have one less element on the periodic table. Cancer would have no effective treatment and we would have no idea how to treat it had they not discovered that radium can kill and weaken cancerous cells. Finally, X-Rays (and/or X-Ray safety precautions such as a lead cover) may not have been invented. Millions of lives and body parts that were saved because of X-Rays would not have been saved, and we would have no way to effectively know where fractures and breaks are in bone structure to treat it today.

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Biography And Scientific Contribution Of Marie Curie. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 6, 2022, from
“Biography And Scientific Contribution Of Marie Curie.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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