She and her husband, Pierre, discovered the elements polonium and radium. Marie often worked late into the night stirring huge cauldrons with an iron rod nearly as tall as her. Later years Marie continued to do research in radioactivity. By the end of that year they had isolated a second radioactive element they called radium, from radius, the Latin word for rays. For further details, cf.
Her early researches, together with her husband, were often performed under difficult conditions, laboratory arrangements were poor and both had to undertake much teaching to earn a livelihood. She was a member of the Conseil du Physique Solvay from until her death and since she had been a member of the Committee of Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations. She was the youngest of five children, three older sisters and a brother. The Curie's research was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery. The Institute's development was interrupted by the coming war, as most researchers were drafted into the French Army , and it fully resumed its activities in Together, they found that two ores, chalcolite and pitchblende, were much more radioactive than pure uranium. In , she isolated pure radium metal. Curie, quiet, dignified and unassuming, was held in high esteem and admiration by scientists throughout the world. To attain her scientific achievements, she had to overcome barriers, in both her native and her adoptive country, that were placed in her way because she was a woman. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked. Radium's radioactivity was so great that it could not be ignored. A delegation of celebrated Polish men of learning, headed by novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz , encouraged her to return to Poland and continue her research in her native country. From a ton of pitchblende, one-tenth of a gram of radium chloride was separated in Meanwhile, she continued studying at the University of Paris, and with the aid of a fellowship she was able to earn a second degree in Maria declined because she could not afford the university tuition; it would take her a year and a half longer to gather the necessary funds. Radioactive Marie next decided to test all of the known many chemical ores to see if any others would emit Becquerel rays. Her work with radioactive materials doomed her, however. In her later years, she headed the Radium Institute Institut du radium, now Curie Institute , Institut Curie , a radioactivity laboratory created for her by the Pasteur Institute and the University of Paris. Maria continued to study on her own, looking forward to joining her sister and getting her own degree. Pierre was a brilliant researcher himself and had invented several instruments for measuring magnetic fields and electricity. Maries was buried next to Pierre, but in , their remains were moved and interred in the Pantheon in Paris alongside France's greatest citizens. Biography of Pierre Curie. She received a second Nobel Prize, for Chemistry, in She quickly realized her high school education and self-study had not prepared her for the Sorbonne. In , she was awarded a degree in physics and began work in an industrial laboratory of Professor Gabriel Lippmann. But by , she was suffering from medical problems, likely due to her exposure to radioactive materials.
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