5 Interesting Facts About Marie Curie

Madame Marie Curie is one of the most well-known scientists of all time. Many of us know that she was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize and that she died as a result of her work, but what else do we know about this fascinating, inspirational woman? The Science Wizards have pulled together our top five favorite facts about this amazing lady to share with you!

1. Multiple Nobel Prizes

Marie Curie shared her first Nobel Prize with two men in 1903: Her husband, Pierre Curie, and another physicist named Henri Becquerel (the guy who discovered radioactivity). However, she also won a second prize, this time in chemistry in 1911, for discovering the chemical elements radium and polonium. Madame Curie was the first scientist to win two prizes in different categories, and she remains -- to this day -- the only woman to have been honored twice! How cool!

2. The First Solvay Conference

Shortly after winning her second Nobel Prize, Marie Curie was eager to continue her work. When the first Solvay Conference was held in Brussels in 1911, she was the only woman present! The conference focused on physics and chemistry, and drew many great minds together (invitation only) - including a young Albert Einstein! 

Extra cool fact: The Solvay Conference still happens today! The next one is scheduled for October 2016.

3. Einstein's Advice

Marie Curie would ultimately make such an impression on Einstein that he offered her valuable words of comfort when the public eye focused on her newly-budding romance with her late husband's former student, Paul Langevin. When the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein were released by Princeton University in 2014, a letter from Einstein to Madame Curie was made public, exposing his thoughts on the silly "scandal:"

Einstein's letter to Marie Curie

Einstein's letter to Marie Curie

4. Science in the Family

Marie Curie's daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie followed in her mother's footsteps, becoming the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry (also shared with her husband) in 1935. Irène would later become Director of the Radium Institute (now known as the Curie Institute), which was founded by her mother in 1914.

5. Twice Buried

Our favorite two-time Nobel laureate was also buried twice! Madame Curie died of leukemia attributed to her radioactive work, and was buried alongside her husband Pierre in 1934. However, their remains would be re-interred at the Panthéon in 1995 with full honors. The Panthéon is a special mausoleum in Paris, containing the remains of France's most esteemed dead. As of now, Marie Curie is the only woman there - but in May of this year, she will be joined by two other exemplary women. Hopefully more women will see this great honor to their memory in the future!

 

Do you have a favorite fact we've missed? Let us know in the comments below! And if you're interested in great children's programming featuring great scientific minds like Madame Curie's, contact us for show and topic information.