1 kwi 2011

Maria Skłodowska-Curie


One of the greatest women in history, her life and achievements were extraordinary by any standards. As you can read in Wiki ”Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and she is the only woman to win the award in two different fields and only person to win the award in multiple sciences”. She was a dedicated scientist and not only created a new branch of knowledge but also made a huge step forward for women.

She was born in 1867 in Warsaw (in that time Russian Empire) and was lucky to have educated parents who educated their daughters. The family wasn’t rich so Maria had to earn money. She worked as a governess and enjoyed this profession very much. It was still time when men forced women to be interested only in marriage, family and children, but Maria and her sister Bronisława wanted to study. It wasn’t possible in Poland so they moved to Paris. Maria was the first woman who took the exams in physics and chemistry at Sorbonne and who was allowed to participate in lectures. She did a PHD and got married to Pierre Curie – also a physicist. They were a lovely couple, worked together and had 2 daughters. In 1903 they both and Henri Becquerel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the research of radiation. In 1906 Pierre Curie was killed in an accident. Maria lost not only a husband but also a workmate. She continued to work and became the head of the laboratory at Sorbonne after Pierre. She fell in love with a physicist - Paul Langevin. His wife revealed their affair. It was too much for the public opinion: a foreigner from the East (many people thought she was Jewish), a scientist, an atheist and a temptress! In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering two elements: radium and polonium (named after the Latin name of Poland – Polonia). But she couldn’t pick the award, her “reputation” could cause a scandal. Through all her life she had to bear prejudices against her sex.

From 1912 until her death she was the head of the physiochemical department in the Radium Institute. Thanks to Maria the Radiological Laboratory was opened in Warsaw (today Centrum Onkologii im. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie). The history of medicine would be completely different without radiology!

We must also remember that Maria’s daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie were also physicists involved in the study of radioactivity. They were laureates of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935. Maria’s grandchildren continue the great family achievements: Hélène Langevin-Joliot is a professor of nuclear physics and Pierre Joliot is a biochemist.

2011 is the international year of chemistry and in Poland and France – of Maria Skłodowska-Curie. The Polish authorities have created a programme of celebrations but unfortunately concentrated on the academic level. There’s not much for so called normal people. If you compare it to the Chopin’s PR last year, it looks pathetic, Maria doesn’t even have an international website! I really don’t know how to explain it, I’ll give you some hints:

1) romantic Poles prefer to promote art than science
2) it’s ignorance
3) it’s pure sexism.

I’m happy that at least a company AMS organized a competition about Maria. Young artists created posters about women’s and men’s equal rights. There are many with Maria, I really recommend you to see (here)! In Warsaw near BUW there’s a new mural with our famous scientist. It should remind Poles that she was born here.

More about Maria in Polish you can read for example here. You can also listen to a few Polish Radio programs about her here. On youtube you will find many funny films like this in Polish and this in English.

Below an interesting picture from Maria's museum in Warsaw.


2 komentarze:

  1. Get daily ideas and methods for earning THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS per day ONLINE totally FREE.
    GET FREE ACCESS TODAY

    OdpowiedzUsuń
  2. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you must watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Get your ex CRAWLING back to you...?

    OdpowiedzUsuń