Timeline of Marie Sklodowska Curie

Marie Sklodowska Curie
Marie Sklodowska Curie

1867 Born in Warsaw, Poland.

1893-94 Earned math and physics degrees at the Sorbonne in Paris. Started writing a doctoral thesis on radiation. It had been discovered in 1896 by Antoine Henri Becquerel.

1895 Married physicist Pierre Curie, head of the laboratory at the School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry in Paris. Joined him in his work there.

1896-1903 Measured radiation levels emitted by various compounds. Discovered two substances that emitted more radiation than would be expected. In 1898, concluded that one of them contained an unknown radioactive element. Pierre Curie joined his wife in conducting research. Together, the pair discovered two new radioactive elements. They named the elements polonium (after Poland) and radium. Their work then focused on identify their chemical properties.

1897 Gave birth to her first daughter, Irene.

1903 Earned her doctorate, based on the work described in her thesis, Radio-Active Substances. With her husband and Becquerel, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

1904 Gave birth to her second daughter, Eve. Pierre Curie named a professor at the Sorbonne.

Marie and Pierre Curie (center) in their laboratory
Marie and Pierre Curie (center) in their laboratory

1906 After her husband was killed by a truck on a Paris street, assumed his position at the Sorbonne. Became the first female lecturer in the 750-year history of the university. Also assumed charge of the Sorbonne lab.

1908 Promoted to Professor at the Sorbonne.

1911 Awarded a second Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for isolating pure radium.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry

1914-1918 During World War I, developed X-rays for use in medicine.

1918-1934 Became director of the scientific department of the Radium Institute. Joined by her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie and husband Frederic Joliot. Continued to research the chemistry of radioactive materials and their medical applications. Lectured internationally. Established scholarships for scientists.

1934 Died of leukemia, likely due to prolonged exposure to radiation during her lifetime.

1935 Daughter Irene Joliot-Curie and Frederic Joliot received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Joliot-Curie’s daughter became a nuclear physicist and their son a biochemist, both making significant scientific contributions. Their grandson is an astrophysicist.

Source: Timeline of Marie Sklodowska Curie
By Exploros, CC BY-SA 4.0; Portrait by Fotograv, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Photo by http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0030700.html, CC BY-SA 4.0; Prize photo by Nobel Foundation, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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