Marie Curie

The obvious thing to write about today would be the US Independence Day, but I decided to be different.

And I know it is another ‘died on this day’ post, but this is about someone I admire greatly, so tough !!

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, in Poland, in 1867.  She was a well known scientist who won two Nobel Prizes, the only woman to do so.  The first was in Physics in 1903, alongisde her husband Pierre and the second in 1911 for Chemistry.

Her main remembrance today is for her work with radiation, which in years to come would help many people who are diagnosed with cancer.

She had two daughters by her husband, before he was killed by a horse drawn carriage while crossing the road in Paris.  She took his place as a professor at the University in Paris, becoming the first woman to do this.

Her discoveries of radium and polonium were essential to the early growth of x-rays and other medical uses of these type.  During the first world war, she set up a mobile x-ray vehicle to help with injured men from the fornt lines.

Unfortunately, her work with radioactivity over many years would eventually cause her death.  Her cause of death is known as aplastic anaemia, which is caused by exposure to radiation.  The safety precautions that are now known to be required when working with radiation were unknown in her times.  She would die in 1934.

Her eldest daughter Irene would also gain a nobel Prize for her work in Chemistry, the year after her mother died.

She would never know how important her research would become decades later, in helping to treat people with life threatening illnesses such as cancer.  How many lives were saved by her research which cost her own life?

She is one of many historical women figures who should not be forgotten.


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