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Childhood, Study And Life Of Marie Curie

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Maria Sklodowska is a young polish girl who later became known as Marie Curie. She was born in Warsaw, Poland, but spent most of her life in Paris, France. To her family, she was known as ‘Marya’. She grew up with her mother having tuberculosis, so she didn’t get much affection from her. She never got hugged or kissed by her mother when she was a child. She grew up the youngest of four other siblings. Her father was a highschool physics and mathematics teacher.

As a child, Marya was always fascinated by her father scientific instruments. She started going to school in 1874 at 6 years old. She was always the smallest and youngest. However, she was extremely smart and memorized things very fast. Often, when visitors came she was chosen to recite poems but she always hated it since she was a shy person. Since Polish wasn’t an independent country as it is now, life was tough. The city Marya lived in, Warsaw, was controlled by Russia. In this city, Russia set some rules not allowing the polish language to be spoken or history to be studied without extreme punishments. Their rules however, backfired and the Poles were more proud of their heritage than ever. Since he wasn’t Pro-Russia enough, Marya’s father was given a lover paying job, and due to bad investments he lost most of his savings. They weren’t financially stable and couldn’t make ends meet, so they took in boarders. Marya lost her room to them and had to sleep on the couch in the dining room but because of this she had to wake up early so they could set up and eat breakfast. The boarders brought many deadly germs including typhus fever which Zofia, Maryas oldest sister caught and died from when Marya was 8. When the two people she loved so much, her mother and oldest sister died, no one was able to comfort her from this loss. Despite this upsetting her, she always did her best and applied herself in school. Her family’s love and support helped her dream for great accomplishments as she got closer to the end of high school.

At 15, she graduated high school top of her class. This resulted in her receiving a gold medal and shaking hands with the grandmaster of education who was a Russian. She collapsed once school ended because she had been working extremely hard. For a year, her father sent her to a country where she could stay with family and friends and just relax and party. She partied hard and at one ball, she danced through a new pair of slippers.

Upon her return to Warsaw in 1884, she began teaching. She also started going to ‘Floating University’ where students illegally met to study. The way this school got its name was because they had to keep moving to different locations. At the time, Polish women weren’t allowed to go to university, so this was the only chance of attending a university for Marya and her sister Bronya. They later realized that with this, they wouldn’t be able to fulfill their ambitions and made a bargain. Marya would make enough money to send Bronya to Paris, France for university. Many Polish people went there to further their education. Later, Bronya would pay to send Marya to university there.

Marya became a governess for the Zorawski family in the Szczuki village to earn money. When their oldest son, Kazmierz, came home from university, he and Marya fell in love. They were both 19. His family refused to allow him to marry a poor governess and they were unhappily separated. She continued to work for the family though because her sister depended on the money she was making to stay in school. Marya forced herself to study when she wasn’t teaching so that she could get over her heartbreak. She mainly focused on physics and chemistry, but she couldn’t conduct many experiments because they required a laboratory. She returned to Warsaw and remained a governess.

Marya was soon able to start studying science along with many other Polish students. They were able to do this because Marya’s cousin started running the Warsaw Museum of Industry and Agriculture. The name there to confuse the Russians to think that it contained farm equipment when it was actually a laboratory. Marya worked on many experiments until she realized that she enjoyed doing this work and this it suited her pretty nicely. In 1891, she had finally gotten enough money to go join her sister in Paris and study physics.

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She made her way to Paris in fall of 1891 and travelled as cheaply as possible. She brought along a chair because for half the way, she didn’t have a seat. She was excited but upset to be leaving her father. She planned on returning to Warsaw with a degree in physics. To fit in easier in France, she moved in with her sister and started going by ‘Marie,’ the french version of her name. Their place was about an hour away from Sorbonne, the university she attended. Bronya always had her Polish friends over and this made it very hard for Marya to study, so she moved out. Marya got a place close to the university, the cheapest place she could find. It was led to by many stairs and was boiling in the summer and icy in the winter. Her water often froze overnight during the winter and once she got so cold that she piled her clothes as well as her furniture over her. During the summer, she started working many hours at the library so she wouldn’t have to overheat in her apartment.

Making food often seemed like a waste of time to her so she mainly ate bread and butter, or tea and radishes. She would even get to the point where she’d faint of hunger. When this happened, she would go stay with Bronya until she felt better and could return to school.

Marya had to work extremely hard because she didn’t understand French too well and her physics knowledge wasn’t as good as that of her classmates. She worked through these problems and in 1893, she earned her masters degree at Sorbonne in physics and scored top of her class. She wanted to continue her education but in mathematics this time. Though she couldn’t afford it, she worked hard and received a scholarship but paid it back later so that another Polish could receive the money for their studies.

A math organization asked her to study magnetism of various types of steel before finishing her degree in mathematics. Since she needed money, she accepted the offer and took the job. This job meant she had to find a lab space. A friend introduced her to someone who could help her find a lab space in 1894. It was a teacher and head of a the lab at the School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry in Paris. It was Pierre Curie who was already famous and known for his work with crystals and magnets. When he first met her, he was quite attracted to her which was surprising to him because he thought most women were a waste of time.

He was attracted to her because of her love for science. He liked how instead of giving her flowers, he could give her an autographed copy of his physics papers. Not too long after they met, Pierre asked Marie to marry him. She loved him but felt that if she married him she would never return to live in Poland again and she wasn’t sure of what to do. Once she completed her masters degree in math, she went to Warsaw for holiday and wasn’t planning on ever returning to Paris. In Warsaw, Pierre wrote her many love letters. Marie decided to go back to Paris to continue her education and see Pierre. Marie and Pierre got married on July 26th, 1895. Marie wore a dark blue suit that she could wear later in the lab.

During their first year of marriage, Marie continued to study steel and magnetism. While doing this, she studied for an exam that would allow her to teach science to high school girls. Marie passed the exam, top of her class in august 1896, and a year later finished her steel and magnetism study. Her and Pierre soon had a little baby daughter named Irene. Marie decided to go back and further her education in physics and get a doctorate degree. During her working to get her doctorate degree, she had to find a topic to study and what fascinated her was a french physicist named Henri Bacquerel and his discovery of mysterious Uranium rays in 186.

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Childhood, Study And Life Of Marie Curie. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from
“Childhood, Study And Life Of Marie Curie.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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