Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She was renown for her work with radioactivity, the work that eventually ended her life. She was born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland on November 7th, 1867 and began her education early. She graduated from secondary school at sixteen, but due to poor investments made by her family had to post pone her own education, working instead. At eighteen she became a governess and put her sister through school with the agreement that her sister would return the favor.
At 24, Maria went to Paris to study physics, mathematics and chemistry at Sorbonne. It was during these years that she changed her name to the French spelling, Marie. It was also while studying in Paris that she met Pierre Curie, and not long after, they were married in a civil ceremony.
Marie and Pierre were devoted to the study of radioactivity, a term that Marie herself coined.
They were among the first to work with radium and polonium. Marie discovered polonium and named it after her home country, Poland.
While Pierre was concerned with the physical properties of polonium and radium, Marie worked to isolate radium in its pure state. She accomplished this with Mr. Debierne and received her doctorate based on her findings in 1903. In 1903 the Curies along with Antoine Henri Bacquerel, the French physicist who first discovered natural radioactivity, won the Nobel Prize.
In 1906 Pierre Curie was hit and killed by a car, though his health had previously been failing due to his work with radioactivity. On May 13, 1906 Marie was appointed to fill Pierre's position and became the first female professor at the Sorbonne.
Marie won the Nobel Prize in 1911 for her achievement of isolating radium and determining its chemical...