The Life And Achievements Of Marie Curie

Born on the 7th of November 1867 in Warsaw Poland, Marie Sklodowska Curie entered the world that she would later have a major impact on. She would later go on to receive recognition for her scientifically renowned discoveries and inventions in the field of physics and chemistry.

In various accounts, Marie stated that she didn’t have the most enjoyable childhood. At the age of 10 years old her mother passed away and she was left distraught over the reality of her passing. Three years later Curie’s older sister succumbed to illness and also passed away. At this time Curie also started to attend a boarding school where she would later take up gymnastics claiming a gold medal in her events. After these events, Marie gave up her Christian beliefs and became agnostic in turn focusing on her education. Coming from a family with a scholastic grandfather Marie would often be tutored literature from him. In 1884, Curie moved to the countryside with her Father where she would take up tutoring. As Marie was a woman, she was denied any admission to regular institutions of academics because of her gender. Curie’s Sister, Bronislawa, was involved with the ‘Clandestine Flying University’ a Polish university which offered higher education to women.

A few years pass by and Curie herself is invited by her sister to accompany them in Paris. Maire found herself unable to support the costs of the university so spent a year and a half saving up. In this gap of time Curie studied and tutored herself by reading books and other independent studies. Curie then began to continue her studies at the ‘University of Paris’ in 1891 where she stayed and developed her many famous theories and discoveries up until her passing in 1934.

After receiving her master’s physics degree in 1893, at 26, Marie’s interest towards the field of Chemistry prompted her to also go back the next year and study for a master’s degree in chemistry. Marie also previously married a man named Pierre Curie who shared a common love for science and together, by the end of 1898, they declared (what would soon be a highly respected discovery of the scientific community for generations to come) their discoveries of the radioactive elements Polonium and Radium.

In December 1903, Marie Curie was then awarded the Noble prize in Physics becoming the only female to achieve such an award. Considering the times and social norms this was a controversial event but also sparked a movement to women and their potential’s in regard to the sciences. The Nobel board of judges were previously only going to award Marie’s husband as it would be more “appropriate” but as Pierre was an open minded individual with strong perspectives of equality he insisted entirely that the title should go to his wife, and wife only, instead of him.

Another notable & well-known achievement of Curie is that she earnt a second Noble prize in 1910 for her successful isolation of the pure element of radium which she had discovered 12 years prior. This event then made her the first person, regardless of gender, to earn two noble prizes in different categories of science.

With her passion, qualifications and curiosity towards radioactivity Curie began to commence her studies into the mineral of Pitchblende and its hidden properties that Marie would soon uncover changing the world in many was as we know it. In the process of he studies into radioactivity Maire and Pierre both discovered that separating uranium from Pitchblende itself landed them with two entirely new radioactive elements, Radium and Polonium.

Acting on interest and excitement Marie then wanted to focus on trying to stabilise them and transform them into potentially useful isotopes of themselves. Due to the highly instable and radioactive nature of Polonium, it proved extremely difficult to create an isotope of itself. Technology and knowledge were not advanced enough so therefore Marie did not manage to achieve her goals of stabilising Polonium. However, in 1902 Curie did manage to stabilise the element of Radium in which would later impact science a lot more than people anticipated.

In modern days there are always constant, ever- changing technologies, discoveries and inventions within the scientific community; this is all thanks to the past people who laid the foundation for all future, including present, advancements in science.

In this case Marie Curie had a big positive impact in the medical and medicinal field. Without Marie the concept of radiation and its many uses would be extremely foreign to society. Positive ways Curie has impacted the medical field can be seen through her contributions to the development of the first X-ray machines and fight against non-infectious diseases such as, mainly, Breast cancer but also diabetes and even rheumatism.

Some other positive impacts that Curie’s discoveries had on society has got to do with a topic outside of the scientific community. As mentioned before, Curie and her breakthroughs in science gave women a chance to start to be included in higher education and other things that included opinions and academic knowledge of people as a whole, not just men. Her discoveries ultimately & indirectly started a movement where women would begin to be recognised for their achievements and ideas.

Marie Curie of course never had the intention of bringing harm to society with her actions and findings on radiation but there are always cons to the pros. One of these negative impacts and side effects unfortunately claimed the life of Curie herself and many more. Majority of the lives of people lost were women in a production line where they would paint the numbers of watch faces with radium (as its other property was one of fluorescents). These women were called the Radium girls after the use of the element ended up killing as many as 112 workers. Many of these workers uninformed of the risks of working with radium, would often lick their brushes to re-moisten them, in the process ingesting the toxic radioactive chemical. The side effects of these events ended in many fatalities. Those victims of which experienced horrendous consequences had illness’ like, necrosis of the jaw, Anemia and aggressive cancers later in life.

One more major negative impact is the disreputable production and use of nuclear weapons. The discoveries of Marie Curie were key aspects in the making of these weapons which were later used in combat killing millions infamously claiming the innocent lives of citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The use of these weapons impacted the future generations of the Japanese people and scarring families for decades.

It is undeniable that the discoveries of Marie Curie were both amazing and tragic but that’s exactly what pinpoints Curie as a remarkable person changing the ways we science and the reason why we are as scientifically advanced as we are now.    

16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now