Marie Curie

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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

How do we even start to talk about Marie Curie, arguably the most famous female scientist of all time? You probably know all about her. Or think you do. Here’s what she had to say about her own life:

“It is a short, simple history, lacking great events. I was born in Warsaw, in a professor’s family. I married Pierre Curie and I had two children. My scientific work I did in France.”

Okay, let’s pack it up. We can all go home. Nothing to see here, folks!

You know, except for all of the firsts:

First woman to receive a Nobel Prize.

First person to win Nobel Prizes in two scientific fields.

Scratch that — only person to win Nobel Prizes in two scientific fields.

First female professor at the Sorbonne.

First woman interred at the Panthéon in Paris as one of the greats of French history. (Yeah, turns out she’s the first woman in France to be great).

You get the idea. We can’t cover her scientific achievements in this space. But we can tell you there’s more to her story and it’s worth learning. She went to an illegal underground university. She was a WWI hero. After her husband’s tragic death in 1906, she was at the center of a sex scandal. She refused membership in the French Legion of Honor. Her daughter also received a Nobel prize in chemistry.


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