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Who was Marie Curie?

Marie Curie in about 1920Marie Curie (1867–1934) was a scientist at a time when it was unusual for a woman to be a scientist at all. She is remembered today for her work with her husband Pierre Curie on radioactivity. They discovered two radioactive elements: radium and polonium. She also played an important part in developing the use of X-rays, especially during World War I. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize. She was also the only woman to have won a Nobel Prize in two different fields: physics and chemistry.


Maria Sklodowska at 16 years old

Early life

Marie Curie was born Maria Sklodowska on 7th November 1867, in Warsaw, Poland. She was the youngest of five children. Her parents were teachers and they made sure both their sons and daughters were taught well. When Maria was just 11 years old, her mother died. 

Before Marie went to Paris, she and her sister studied at a secret academy for women in Warsaw. It was called the "floating" university because it kept having to move from one place to another to avoid discovery (women were not allowed to go to university).

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