Today is Ada Lovelace Day a day celebrating women in technology and science. It's an international day of blogging (vlogging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science. So today I'm going to blog about a wonderful female scientist, Marie Curie.
Marie Curie lived from 1867 to 1934 and became famous for her work in Radioactivity. She was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize for her study of spontaneous radiation. She won the Noble Prize in 1903--just two years after the formation of the Nobel Foundation. She shared the 1903 Noble Prize with both her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel--the man who discovered spontaneous radiation. She later became the first person to win two Noble Prizes, winning her second Noble Prize in 1911 for her work in radioactivity.
In 1898 Marie discovered that radiation is a property of an atom itself. In that year she also discovered Polonium and radium, both of which emit millions of times more radiation than uranium. She also coined the term radioactivity - the spontaneous emission of radiation. Curie developed methods for the separation of radium from radioactive residues in sufficient quantities to allow for its characterization and the careful study of its properties, especially therapeutic properties. Marie was passionate about the use of radium to alleviate suffering and during World War I she organized radiotherapy services for military hospitals and set up mobil radiological posts. In 1914 she founded the Radium Institute, which has since been renamed Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology.
Marie Curie passed away in 1934 at the age of 67 from leukemia, brought on by her years of exposure to high levels of radiation.
Walter, Alan E. (2004). Radiation and Modern Life: Fulfilling Marie Curie's Dream. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Marie Curie, The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903, (n.d.), Retrieved March 21, 2010 from: Nobelprize.org: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1903/marie-curie-bio.html