Polish-born French physicist Marie Curie.

Marie Curie

(1867 - 1934)

The Polish-born scientist Marie Curie pioneered the study of radioactivity, bringing considerable fame to her and her husband, Pierre. They refused, in her words, “to draw from our discovery any material profit.” In 1903 Marie, Pierre, and Henri Becquerel received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of radioactivity, and in 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for isolating pure radium; she was the first woman to win a Nobel and the only one to have done so in two fields. During World War I, she and one of her daughters worked to develop X-radiography. Upon her death in 1934, Albert Einstein declared her to be “of all celebrated beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted.”

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