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Marie Curie

Marie Curie (utgåvan 1974)

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This biography tells of Madame Curie's childhood and her struggle for recognition and the honors bestowed on her in later life.

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This chronicles the life of Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who discovered radium. She was born Marya Sklodowska in 1867 in Poland. Her mother and older sister died before she was 11 years old. She was the brightest student in grade school. She worked as a governess until she had just enough money to go to a distinguished school of physics in Paris. She was the first and only woman at Sorbonne. She lived in extreme poverty while in school, but her tenacity kept her going. She was hired to do a study on the magnetic properties of steel, and was introduced to Pierre Curie, whose lab she would use for her study. Pierre was a noted scientist, but he refused any money or honor that could have come from his work for the sake of what he believed was pure research. It was this reason that Marie fell in love with him, and they were married a year later. In 1896, a French physicist saw a glow in a lump of uranium ore. He convinced the Curies to study it. Pierre was busy, so Marie made it the subject of her doctoral degree. During her study on the uranium, she had her first daughter, but went right back to work. She discovered that the element was radioactive, and introduced those terms to the language of science. By the end of the year, she had discovered the elements polonium and radium. The existence of radium challenged the ideas of the nature of matter, so in the next 4 years, Marie sought to prove its existence by producing a small amount of pure radium. In 1903, she was awarded her doctoral degree, as well as being awarded the Nobel Prize in physics alongside her husband. The next year she had her second daughter. She became laboratory assistant to her husband at the Sorbonne after he was awarded a full teaching position. In 1906, Pierre was killed in an accident, and Marie replaced him as professor, but was only given an assistant professor position. She was still the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne. In 1908 she was promoted to full professor, and was the first woman to reach such high rank in the field of science. In 1911 she was rejected for membership in the French Academy of Science because she was a woman. Later that year, she won another Nobel Prize, the first time anyone has won the award twice. Her only wish was that her discoveries about radium could be used to help people, such as by curing cancer. In 1914, World War I broke out, and she and her older daughter went to the battlefields to help with medical treatments. They saved many lives, and her daughter was decorated by the French government. Marie was not, because there was a rumor of her involvment in a love affair that offended powerful people. In 1922, she was elected to the French Academy of Medicine. She went on the visit the U.S. and start the Radium Institute of Warsaw, her hometown. She passed away in 1934 of radiation poisoning.

Personal Reaction: I liked reading about a woman who contributed so much to the field of science. Often women's accomplishments throughout history are overlooked or attributed to men's success instead, so I think this is a great book for girls to read. Girls are not always encouraged to succeed in scientific fields either, so it's especially a plus that Marie Curie was a physicist.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Discover other women who have contributed to science throughout history
2. Ask students to describe something they'd like to discover in order to help people the way radiation can help people. ( )
  ClaudiaNormand | Apr 4, 2016 |
  saintjudeslibrary | Aug 31, 2012 |
Marie Curie is best known for her work with radioactive elements. She was the first woman to attend the University of Paris, as well as the first woman to teach there. She won a Nobel Prize in 1904 for work she did with her husband, Pierre, on uranium and radioactivity. ( )
  MelAKnee | Nov 22, 2011 |
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This biography tells of Madame Curie's childhood and her struggle for recognition and the honors bestowed on her in later life.

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