This Month's Winner of the Coveted Award!
Just getting ready to start my unit on atomic theory I have selected Marie Curie (1867-1934) as this month's Featured Scientist winner. She was born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland to well-know teachers. While growing up in Poland the young Maria was sent to a boarding school for primary education. Because most higher educational institutions at the time did not admit women, Maria and her sister attended a Flying University which operated in Poland. In 1891 she along with her older sister went to Paris. Once there, she took classes at the University of Paris (Sorbanne) and tutored eventually earning a degree in Physics in 1893 and Mathematics in 1894.
Around this time she became romantically involved with French physicist Pierre Curie and eventually married him. At first they worked on separate projects, however, they soon took up interest in the work of Henri Becquerel, a French physicist who discovered that uranium casts off rays. Marie theorized the rays were due to the atomic structure of the element. This opened the new field of atomic physics and she coined the phenomena radioactivity. She and Pierre would later discover the elements Polonium and Radium. Marie shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with Pierre and Henri Becquerel making her the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Unfortunately Pierre was killed in a horse carriage accident 1906. In 1911, she won a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry. During World War I, Marie and her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie set up portable X-ray machines to be used in the field.
Former winners of the Featured Scientist