Marie Curie was born on November 7,1867 in Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland.) She discovered the mysterious element radium. It opened the door to deep changes in the way scientists think about matter and energy. She also led the way to a new era for medical knowledge and the treatment of diseases.Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award in two different fields (physics and chemistry). Curie's efforts, with her husband Pierre Curie, led to the discovery of polonium and radium and, after Pierre's death, the development of Xrays. She was fascinated with the work of Henri Becquerel, a French physicist who discovered that uranium casts off rays, weaker rays than the Xrays found by Wilhelm Roentgen. Curie took Becquerel's work a few steps further, conducting her own experiments on uranium rays. She discovered that the rays remained constant, no matter the condition or form of the uranium. The rays, she theorized, came from the element's atomic structure. This revolutionary idea created the field of atomic physics and Curie herself coined the word radioactivity to describe the phenomena. Working with the mineral pitchblende, the pair discovered a new radioactive element in 1898. They named the element polonium. They also detected the presence of another radioactive material in the pitchblende, and called that radium. In 1902, the Curies announced that they had produced a decigram of pure radium, demonstrating its existence as a unique chemical element. With their Nobel Prize win, the Curies developed an international reputation for their scientific efforts, and they used their prize money to continue their research. Curie received another great honor in 1911, winning her second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry. She was selected for her discovery of radium and polonium, and became the first scientist to win two Nobel Prizes.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document